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Division . .t^. .>»?. .W..\..J 
Section ..,' (..{.7R.2..6 

Egypt and Babylon 












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Notices of Babylon in the Book of Genesis, . . i 

Notices of Babylon in the Books of Kings and 

Chronicles, 13 

Further Notices of Babylon in the Books of 

Kings and Chronicles, 27 

Notices of Babylon in Daniel, 40 


Further Notices of Babylon in Daniel, .... 53 

Further Notices of Babylon in Daniel, .... 67 

Notices of Babylon in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, . . 82 



Further Notices of Babylon in Ezekiel, . . . . 95 

Further Notices of Babylon in Daniel, . . . .111 

P'urther Notices of Babylon in Daniel, . . '. .125 

Notices of Babylon in Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, 

AND Ezekiel, . . .138 

Further Notices of Babylon in Isaiah and Jere- 
miah, 152 

Notices of Egypt in Genesis, . 165 

Further Notices of Egypt in Genesis, 180 

Notices of Egypt in Exodus . ... 194 

Further Notices of Egypt in Exodus, ..... 208 

Notices of Egypt in Exodus and Numbers, . ' . . 222 

Further Notices of Egypt in Exodus, 236 



Notices of Egypt in the First Book of Kings, . . 250 

Notices of Egypt in the Second Book of Kings, . 263 

Notices of Egypt in Isaiah 276 

Notices of Egypt in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, . . . 290 

Notices of Egypt in Daniel, 304 

Further Notices of Egypt in Daniel, 317 




" Cush begat Nimrod : he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He 
was a mighty hunter before the Lord : wherefore it is said, Even as 
Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of 
his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the 
land of Shinar." — Gen. x. 8-io. 

That this passage refers to Babylon will scarcely be 
disputed. The words " Babel " and " Shinar " are 
sufficient proof. " Babel," elsewhere generally trans- 
lated "Babylon" (2 Kings xx. 12; xxiv. i ; 2 Chron. 
xxxii, 31 ; xxxiii. II ; Ps. cxxxvii. I, etc.), is the exact 
Hebrew equivalent of the native Babily which appears 
as the capital of Babylonia in the cuneiform records 
from the time of Agu-kak-rimi (about B.C. 2000) 
to the conquest of the country by Cyrus (b.c. 538). 
" Shinar " is probably an equivalent of " Mesopotamia," 
" the country of the two rivers," and in Scripture 


always designates the lower part of the Tigris and 
Euphrates valley, the alluvial plain through which the 
great rivers flow before reaching the Persian Gulf 

Four facts are recorded of Babylonia in the pas- 
sage: — I. That it became at a very early date a settled 
government under a king ; 2. That it contained, besides 
Babylon, at least three other great cities — Erech, 
Accad, Calneh ; 3. That among its earliest rulers was 
a great conquering monarch named Nimrod ; and 4. 
That this monarch, and therefore probably his people, 
descended from Cush — i.e.^ was a Cushite, or Ethio- 

The first of these facts is confirmed by Berosus, by 
Diodorus Siculus, and by the monuments. Berosus 
declared that a monarchy had been set up in Babylon 
soon after the flood, which he regarded as a real oc- 
currence, and counted 208 kings from Evechoiis, the 
first monarch, to Pul, the predecessor of Tiglath-Pileser. 
Diodorus believed that Babylon had been built by 
Semiramis, the wife of Ninus, at a date which, accord- 
ing to his chronology, would be about B.C. 2200. The 
monuments furnish above ninety names of kings ante- 
rior to Tiglath-Pileser, and carry back the monarchy 
by actual numerical statements to B.C. 2286, v/hile the 
super-position of the remains is considered by the 
explorers to indicate an even greater antiquity. An 
early Babylonian kingdom, once denied on the author- 
ity of Ctesias, js now generally allowed by historians ; 
the researches of Sir Henry Rawlinson, Mr. George 
Smith, Professor Sayce, Mr. Pinches, and others, 


having sufficiently established the fact previously- 

The second fact — the early existence of several 
large cities in Babylonia, cities ranking almost upon a 
par — is also strongly supported by the native records. 
In the most ancient times to which the monuments go 
back, the chief cities, according to Mr. George Smith,^ 
were Ur, Nipur, Karrak, and Larsa, all of them met- 
ropolitan, and all of them places giving their titles to 
kings. Somewhat later, Babylon and Erech rose to 
greatness, together with a city called Agade, or Accad, 
according to the same authority.^ If this last identi- 
fication be allowed, then three out of the four cities 
mentioned in Genesis as metropolitan at this early 
date will have the same rank in the native records, 
and one only of the four names will lack such direct 
confirmation. Certainly, no name at all resembling 
Calneh occurs in the primitive geography of Baby- 
lonia. There are, however, grounds for regarding 
Calneh as another name of Nipur,^ and one which 
superseded it for a time in the nomenclature of the 
inhabitants. In this case we may say that all the four 
cities of Genesis x. lo are identified, and shown to 
have had (about b. c. 2000) the eminence ascribed to 
them in that passage. Mr. George Smith's reading of 
" Agade " is, however, questioned by some, who read 

^"History of Babylonia" (edited by Rev. A. H Sayce), ch. iii., pp. 

2 Ibid., p. 61. 

'Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible," advoc. Calneh. 


the name " Agane." If this latter reading be correct, 
the city Accad must be regarded as at present not 

The third fact — the reign of a powerful king, called 
Nimrod, over Babylonia has not as yet received any 
confirmation from the monuments. It is suspected 
that the monarch so called had two names, and that, 
while Scripture uses one of them, the Babylonian 
documents employ the other. Mr. George Smith pro- 
posed to identify the scriptural Nimrod with a certain 
Izdubar, a semi-mythical, semi-historical personage, 
very prominent in the primitive legends. But the 
identification is a pure conjecture. The monuments 
must be regarded as silent with respect to Nimrod, 
and we must look elsewhere for traces of his existence 
and authority. Such traces are numerous in the 
traditions of the East, and among the early Jewish and 
Arabic writers. Josephus tells us that Nimrod lived 
at the time when the attempt was made to build the 
Tower of Babel, and represents him as the prime mover 
in that impious enterprise. The Mohammedans have 
a tradition that he lived somewhat later, and was 
brought into contact with Abraham, whom he 
attempted to burn to death in a furnace of fire. In 
Arabian astronomy he appears as a giant who at his 
decease was translated to heaven, and transformed into 
the constellation which the Arabs called El Jabbar, 
" the Giant," and the Greeks Orion. These tales have, 
of course, but little value in themselves ; they are 
merely important as showing how large a space this 


monarch occupied in the imaginations of the Eastern 
races, a fact only to be accounted for by his having once 
filled a prominent position. That position is declared 
in the " Nabathaean Agriculture," an Arabic work of 
great antiquity, to have been the position of a king 
the founder of a dynasty which long bore sway over 
the land. Another sign of the reality of Nimrod's 
rule is to be found in the attachment of his name to 
various sites in the Mesopotamian region. The 
remarkable ruin generally called Akkerkuf, which lies 
a little to the south-west of Baghdad, is known to 
many as the " Tel-Nimrud ; " the great dam across the 
Tigris below Mosul is the " Sahr-el-Nimrud ; " one of 
the chief of the buried cities in the same neighbour- 
hood is called " Nimrud " simply ; and the name of 
" Birs-Nimrud " attaches to the grandest mass of ruins 
in the lower country.^ 

The fourth fact — that Nimrod, and therefore pro- 
bably his people, was of Cushite origin, has been 
strenuously denied by some, even among modern 
critics.^ But ancient classical tradition and recent 
linguistic research agree in establishing a close con- 
nection between the early inhabitants of the lower 
Mesopotamian plain and the people, which, under the 
various names of Cushites, Ethiopians, and Abyssin- 
ians, has long been settled upon the middle Nile. 
Memnon, king of Ethiopia, according to Hesiod and 
Pindar, led an army of combined Ethiopians and Susi- 

^ See Rich's "Journey to Babylon," p. 2, note. 
2 See Bunsen's "Philosophy of History," vol. iii., pp. 190, 191. 


anians to the assistance of Priam, king of Troy. Belus, 
according to the genealogists, was the son of Libya (or 
Africa) ; he married Anchinoe, daughter of Nilus, and 
had issue yEgyptus. Names which are modifications 
of Cush have always hung about the lower Mesopo- 
tamian region, indicating its primitive connection with 
the Cush upon the Nile. The Greeks called the 
Susianians " Kissii," and a neighbouring race ** Kosssei." 
The early Babylonians had a city, " Kissi," and a lead- 
ing tribe in their country was called that of the ** Kassu." 
Even now the ancient Susiania is known as '* Khuzis- 
tan," the land of Khuz, or of the Cushites. Standing 
alone, these would be weak arguments ; but weight is 
lent them by the support which they obtain from the 
facts of language. Sir Henry Rawlinson, the first 
translator of primitive Babylonian documents, declares 
the vocabulary employed to be " decidedly Cushite or 
Ethiopian," and states that he was able to interpret the 
inscriptions chiefly by the aid which was furnished to 
him from published works on the Galla (Abyssinian) 
and the Mahra (South Arabian) dialects.^ 

" The whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it 
came to pass, as they journeyed from the east (eastward, inarg^, that 
they found a plain in the land of Shinar ; and they dwelt there. And 
they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and -burn them 
throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for 
mortar. And they said. Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose 
top may reach unto heaven ; and let us make us a name', lest we be 
scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came 
down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 

^ See the author's " Herodotus," vol. i., p. 441. 


And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one 
language ; and this they begin to do ; and now nothing will be restrained 
from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, 
and there confound their language, that they may not understand one 
another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon 
the face of all the earth ; and they left off to build the city. Therefore 
is the name of it called Babel, because the Lord did there confound the 
language of all the earth ; and from thence did the Lord scatter them 
abroad upon the face of all the earth." — Gen. xi. 1-9. 

We have here the scriptural account of the meaning 
of the name *' Babel," the primitive term which the 
Greeks converted into *' Babylon," but which remains 
even now attached to a portion of the ruins that mark 
the site of the great city, almost in its original form.^ 
The etymology was not accepted by the Babylonians 
themselves, who wrote the word in a way which shows 
that they considered it to mean " the Gate of God." 
This has been regarded by some as a contradiction of 
the scriptural account; but we may reconcile the two 
by supposing either that the name was first given in 
scorn, and that afterwards a better meaning was found 
for it, or (more probably) that the word, having 
been intended by the Babylonians themselves in 
the sense of " the Gate of God," was from the first 
understood in a different sense by others, who con- 
nected it with the " confusion " of tongues. The 
word is capable of both etymologies, and may from 
the first have been taken in both senses by different 

^ The northernmost of the three great mounds which mark the ruins 
of Babylon is called by the Arabs Babil. 


The account of the origin of the name is connected 
with an historical narrative, of which the following are 
the chief incidents: — i. A body of men, who had 
occupied the plain of Shinar, disliking the idea of that 
dispersion which was continually taking place, and 
scattering men more and more widely over the earth, 
determined to build a city, and to adorn it with a lofty 
tower, in order that they might get themselves a name, 
and become a centre of attraction in the world. 2. 
The materials which they found to their hand, and 
which they employed in building, were burnt brick 
and " slime," or bitumen. 3. They had built their 
city, and raised their tower to a certain height, when 
God interfered with their work. By confounding the 
language of the workmen, He made it impossible for 
them to understand each other's speech, and the result 
was that the design, for the time at least, fell through. 
The people " left off to build the city," and the mass 
of them dispersed, and ** were scattered abroad upon 
the face of the earth." 

It would not have been surprising if profane history 
had contained no notice of this matter. It belongs 
clearly to a very remote antiquity, a time anterior — 
as it might have been supposed — to records, and lost 
in the dark night of ages. But the fact seems to be 
that the Babylonians either recorded at the time, or at 
any rate bore in memory, the transaction. Two 
Greek writers, who drew their Babylonian histories 
from native sources, noticed the occurrence, and gave 
an account of it, which is in most respects very close 


to the biblical narrative. Alexander Polyhistor said, 
that ** Once upon a time, when the whole race of man- 
kind were of one language, a certain number of them 
set to work to build a great tower, thinking to climb 
up to heaven; but God caused a wind to blow, and 
cast the tower down, at the same time giving to every 
man his own peculiar speech. On which account the 
city was called Babylon." Abydenus, a somewhat 
later historian, treated the subject at greater length. 
" At this time," he said, " the ancient race of men were 
so puffed up with their strength and tallness of stature, 
that they began to despise and contemn the gods, and 
laboured to erect that very lofty tower, which is now 
called Babylon, intending thereby to scale heaven. 
But when the building approached the sky, behold, 
the gods called in the aid of the winds, and by their 
help overthrew the tower, and cast it to the ground. 
The name of the ruins is still called Babel ; because 
until this time all men had used the same speech, but 
now there was sent upon them a confusion of many 
and diverse tongues." 

These passages have long been known, and have 
been adduced as probable evidence that the native 
Babylonian records contained a notice respecting the 
tower of Babel and the confusion of human speech. 
But it is only recently that such a record has been 
unearthed. Among the clay tablets brought from 
Babylonia by Mr. George Smith, and deposited in the 
British Museum, is one unfortunately much mutilated, 
which seems clearly to have contained the Babylonian 


account of the matter. The main portions of this 
document are as follows : — 

" Babylon corruptly to sin went, and 

Small and great were mingled on the mound ; 
Babylon corruptly to sin went, and 

Small and great were mingled on the mound. 

* * -Jfr -x- 
Their work all day they builded ; 

But to their stronghold in the night 

Entirely an end God made. 
In His anger also His secret counsel He poured forth. 

He set His face to scatter ; 
He gave command to make strange their speech ; 

Their progress He impeded, 
•jf- -x- -K- * 

In that day He blew, and for [all] future time 

The mountain (was demolished ?) ; 
Lawlessness stalked forth abroad ; 

And, though God spake to them, 
Men went their ways, and strenuously 

Opposed themselves to God. 
He saw, and to the earth came down; 

No stop He made, while they 
Against the gods revolted .... 

* * -Sf * 
Greatly they wept for Babylon ; 

Greatly they wept." ^ 

"It came to pass in the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar, Arioch, 
king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of 
nations, that these made war with Bera, king of Sodom, and with 
Birsha, king of GomoiTah, Shinab, king of Admah, and Shemeber, 
king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. All these were 
joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. Twelve 
years they served Chedorlaomer," — Gen. xiv. 1-4. 

^ See "Records of the Past," vol. vii., pp. 131, 132. 


The chief fact relating to Babylon, which this pas- 
sage contains, is its subjection in the time of Abraham 
to a neighbouring country called here Elam. Amra- 
phel, the king of Shinar, the country whereof Babylon 
was the capital (Gen. x. lo; xi. 2-9), is plainly, in the 
entire narrative (Gen. xiv. 1-17), secondary and sub- 
ordinate to Chedorlaomer, king of Elam. The con- 
quered monarchs "serve" Chedorlaomer (ver. 4), not 
Amraphel ; Chedorlaomer leads both expeditions, the 
other kings are ** with him" (vers. 5, 17), as subordinate 
allies, or, more probably, as tributaries. This is an 
inversion of the usual position occupied by Babylonia 
towards its eastern neighbour, of which, until recently, 
there was no profane confirmation. 

Recently, however, traces have been found of an 
Elamitic conquest of Babylon, and also of an Elamitic 
dynasty there at an early date, which show that 
there were times when the more eastern of the two 
countries which lay side by side upon the Lower 
Tigris had the greater power, and exercised dominion 
over the more western. Asshur-bani-pal, the son of 
Esar-haddon, relates that in his eighteenth year (b. c. 
651) he restored to the Babylonian city of Erech 
certain images of gods, which had been carried off 
from them as trophies of victory 1635 years previously 
by Kudur-Nakhunta, king of Elam, to adorn his 
capital city of Susa.^ The primitive Babylonian mon- 
uments also show a second conquest of Babylon from 
the same quarter, and the establishment of a dynasty 

1" Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., p. 446; "Origin of Nations," p. 37. 


there, which is known as " Elamite," ^ about B.C. 1600, 
or a little later. This dynasty consisted of two kings, 
Kudur-Mabuk and Rim-agu (a name which has been 
compared with "Arioch"). 

It is thus evident that Elam was, in the early period 
of Babylonian history, a country of about equal power 
with Babylon, and one which was able from time to 
time to exercise dominion over her neighbour. It 
appears also that its kings affected, as one of the 
elements in their names, the word " Chedor " or 
" Kudur," which is believed to have meant " servant," 
— Chedorlaomer (or Chedor-Lagamer, as the word 
might be transliterated) being " the servant of Laga- 
mer," a Susianian god, Kudur-Nakhunta, " the servant 
of Nakhunta," another god; and Kudur-Mabuk, "the 
servant of Mabuk," a goddess. We may add, that 
" Amar " (=Amra in " Amra-phel ") appears also as a 
root in the early Babylonian titles,^ while Arioch is 
perhaps identical with the name of Rim-agu (or Eri- 
aku), Kudur-Mabuk's son and successor. Thus the 
notice in Gen. xiv. 1-4, without being directly con- 
firmed by the monuments, is in close harmony with 
them, both linguistic and historical. 

^George Smith's " History of Babylonia," pp. II, 74. 
2 Ibid., p. 10. 



Scripture is silent on the subject of Babylon through 
the whole period from Genesis to Kings.^ Israel, during 
the sojourn in Egypt, the wanderings in the wilderness, 
the time of the Judges, and the greater part of the time 
of the Kings, was never brought in contact with Baby- 
lonia or Babylonians ; and Scripture, which traces the 
religious history of the people of God, has therefore no 
occasion to mention the southern Mesopotamian power. 
Another power has interposed itself between Israel 
and Babylon — the great empire of Assyria — and has 
barred the path by which alone they could readily 
communicate. It is not till Assyria, under the Sargo- 
nidae, is seriously threatening the independence of 
both countries, that a common danger brings them 
together, and Babylon once more claims the attention 
of the sacred historians. The first notice of Babylon 
in the Books of Kings is the following : — 

^The "Babylonish garment" coveted by Achan (Josh. vii. 21) 
scarcely constitutes an exception. 

2 13 


*' At that time " (the time of Hezekiah's illness) '* Berodach-Baladan, 
the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto 
Hezekiah : for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick, 'And Heze- 
kiah hearkened unto them, and showed them all the house of his 
precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious 
ointment, and all the house of his annour, and all that was found in his 
treasures : there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that 
Hezekiah showed them not." — 2 Kings xx. 12, 13. 

The same circumstance is related, almost in the same 
words, by the prophet Isaiah, in one of his historical 
chapters. Isaiah says — 

" At that time Merodach-Baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Baby- 
lon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah ; for he had heard that he 
had been sick, and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, 
and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the 
gold," etc. — ISA. xxxix. i, 2. 

The author of Chronicles, without relating the 
circumstance, makes a short comment upon it. After 
describing the riches, honour, and prosperity of Heze- 
kiah, he adds — 

" Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Baby- 
lon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the 
land, God left him to try him, that he might know all that was in his 
heart." — 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. 

The reign of a Babylonian monarch, called Mero- 
dach-Baladan, at about the period indicated — the latter 
part of the eighth century B.C. — is recorded in the 
famous " Canon of Ptolemy," which assigns him the 
years between B.C. 722 and B.C. 710. That the same 
monarch, after being deprived of his throne, was 


restored to it, and had a second reign of six months' 
duration, is related by Alexander Polyhistor, the friend 
of Sulla.^ This latter reign appears to have belonged 
to the year B.C. 703. So much is known to us from 
the classical writers. From the Assyrian monuments 
we learn that the relations between Babylonia and 
Assyria, during the reign of Merodach-Baladan, were 
hostile. Sargon relates that he attacked this king, 
whom he viewed as a rebel, in his first year,^ defeated 
his ally, the king of Elam, and ravaged his territory, 
but without coming into contact with the Babylonian 
monarch himself After this, troubles elsewhere forced 
him to leave Merodach-Baladan in peace for eleven 
years ; but in his twelfth year he again invaded Baby- 
lonia, took Babylon, and made Merodach-Baladan a 
prisoner.^ Five years after this, as we learn from Sen- 
nacherib's annals,^ on the death of Sargon, Babylonia 
revolted. Merodach-Baladan, escaping from the cus- 
tody in which he was held, hastened to Babylon, and 
re-established his authority over the whole southern 
kingdom. But Sennacherib at once marched against 
him, defeated his forces, recovered Babylon, and drove 
him to take refuge in the marshes of southern Chaldaea; 
whence, after a short time, he fled across the Persian 
Gulf to southern Elam, where he died in exile. 

The embassy of Merodach-Baladan to Hezekiah 

^Ap. Euseb. *' Chron. Can.," pars, i., c. 5. Both reigns are noticed 
in a recently deciphered Babylonian tablet. (" Proceedings of the Society 
of Bibl. Archaeology" for 1884, pp. 197-8.) 

2 George Smith, "History of Babylonia," p. 1 1 6. 

3 Ibid., p. 123. *Ibid., p. 125. 


falls, by Archbishop Usher's chronology, which is here 
founded upon Ptolemy's Canon, into the year B.C. 713. 
It would thus have taken place between Sargon's first 
and second attack, very shortly before the latter. The 
monuments do not mention it ; but they show that at 
this time Merodach-Baladan was expecting the Assy- 
rians to invade his country, was looking out for allies, 
and doing his best to strengthen his position. Under 
these circumstances it would be natural that he should 
seek the alliance of Hezekiah, who, at the opposite end 
of the Assyrian dominions, had " rebelled against the 
king of Assyria, and served him not " (2 Kings xviii. 
7). That he should cloak his design under the double 
pretext that his object was to congratulate the Jewish 
king on his recovery from a dangerous illness (Isa. 
xxxix. i), and to inquire concerning the astronomical 
"wonder done in the land " (2 Chron. xxxii. 31), is 
intrinsically probable, being consonant with diplomatic 
practice both in the East and in the West. An 
astronomical marvel, such as that of the going back 
of the shadow on the dial of Ahaz (2 Kings xx. 1 1 ; 
Isa. xxxviii. 8), would naturally attract attention in 
Babylonia, where the phenomena of the heavens were 
observed with the utmost diligence from a very remote 

It must not be concealed that there is one important 
discrepancy between the scriptural narrative and the 
histoiy of Merodach-Baladan, as recorded upon the 
Assyrian monuments. Merodach-Baladan is stated, 
both by Isaiah and by the compiler of the Book of 


Kings, to have been "the son of Baladan " — on the 
monuments he is always called " the son of Yakina/' 
or '' Yakin." Mr. George Smith has suggested that 
Yakin was the name of the tribe whereto Merodach- 
Baladan belonged ; ^ but it can scarcely be argued that 
he was called " son of Yakin " on this account. Yakin 
must have been a person ; and if not the actual father 
of Merodach-Baladan, at any rate one of his progeni- 
tors. Perhaps the true explanation is, that Yakin was 
a more or less remote progenitor, the founder of the 
house, and Baladan (Bel-iddina ?) the actual father of 
Merodach-Baladan. By the former designation he was 
popularly known, by the latter in his official comn>u- 

" The Lord spake to Manasseh and to his people, but they would not 
hearken. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the 
host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, 
and bound him with fetters, to carry him to Babylon. And when he 
was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself 
greatly before the God of his fathers ; and he prayed unto Him, and He 
was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again 
to Jerusalem into his kingdom." — 2 Chron. xxxiii. 10-13. 

It appears by this passage, i. That Manasseh, after 
having provoked God h\ a long course of wicked con- 
duct, was attacked and made prisoner by the generals 
of a king of Assyria, who "took him among the 
thorns," or rather " took him with hooks," and bound 
him with fetters, and so carried him with them to 
Babylon ; 2. That after having suffered captivity for 

1 *• History of Babylonia," p. 1 13. 


a time, and repented of his wickedness, he was allowed 
by the king of Assyria to quit Babylon, and return to 
Jerusalem, where he was once more established in his 
kingdom. Three things are especially remarkable in 
this narrative : (<^) the generals of the Assyrian monarch 
conduct Manasseh to their master, not at Nineveh, but 
at Babylon ; (b) they bring him into the royal presence 
"■ with hooks,'' and fettei^ed ; (r) by an act of clemency, 
very unusual in the East, the Assyrian king pardons 
him after a time, and goes so far as to reinstate him in 
his government. We have to consider what light pro- 
fane history throws upon these facts. 

And, first, how comes a king of Assyria to hold his 
court at Babylon ? Nineveh is the Assyrian capital, 
and ordinarily the court is held there. If not there, it 
is held at Dur-Sargina, where Sargon built himself a 
palace, or at Calah (Nimrud), where were the palaces 
of Asshur-izir-pal, Shalmaneser II., and Tiglath-Pileser 
II. What has caused the anomaly of a transfer of the 
court to the capital of another country ? The Assyrian 
records fully explain this circumstance. Sennacherib, 
Hezekiah's contemporary, was succeeded by his son, 
Esar-haddon, who would thus be Manasseh's con- 
temporary. The Assyrian monuments tell us that this 
monarch inaugurated a new policy with respect to 
Babylonia. Most Assyrian kings who found themselves 
strong enough to reduce that country to subjection, 
governed it by means of a native or Assyrian viceroy ; 
and this was the plan adopted by Sennacherib, Esar- 
haddon's father. But Esar-haddon, when he came to 


the throne, acted differently. He assumed the double 
title of " King of Assyria and Babylonia," appointed 
no viceroy, but, having built himself a palace in 
Babylon, reigned there in person, holding his court 
sometimes at the northern, sometimes at the southern 
capital. Towards the end of his life, he relinquished 
Nineveh altogether to his eldest son, Asshur-bani-pal, 
and contented himself with ruling the southern king- 
dom from his palace in Babylon.^ The anomaly is 
thus fully explained, and what once appeared a difficulty 
turns out a confirmation. 

What our translators intended to be understood by 
the expression, " which took Manasseh among the 
thorns," is perhaps doubtful. But they convey to most 
minds the idea of a caitiff monarch endeavouring to 
hide himself from his pursuers in a thorny brake, but 
detected, and dragged from his concealment. The 
words in the orisrinal have no such meanincf. D'nin 
(khokhini), the term translated '' thorns," is indeed 
capable of that rendering ; but it has also another 
sense, much more suitable to the present context. 
Gesenius ^ explains it as " instrumentum ferreum, 
circulus vel hamus, in modum spinae aculeatae, quo 
olim captivi figebantur, et quo Turcae suos captivos 
detinent vinctos." In the singular number the word 
is translated " hook " in Job xli. 2 ; and a term nearly 
identical, khdkh has the same rendering in 2 Kings 
xix. 28 ; Isa. xxxvii. 29 ; Ezek, xxix. 4; xxxviii. 4, etc. 

^G. Smith, "History of Babylonia," pp. 141, 142. 
2 "Hebrew Lexicon," advoc. mn 


These passages sufficiently fix the meaning of the 
phrase used in Chronicles. The captains of the king 
of Assyria *' took Manasseh away with hooks " (comp. 
Amos iv. 2), and having also " bound him with fetters," 
brought him into the presence of Esar-haddon. 

The practice of bringing prisoners of importance 
into the presence of a conquering monarch by means 
of a thong attached to a hook or ring passed through 
their upper or their under lip, or both, is illustrated 
by the sculptures both of Babylonia and Assyria. 
Sargon is seen in his palace at Khorsabad receiving 
prisoners whose lips are thus perforated;^ and one of 
the few Babylonian sculptures still extant shows us a 
vizier conducting into the presence of a monarch two 
captives held in durance in the same way.^ Cruel and 
barbarous as such treatment of a captured king seems 
to us, there is no doubt that it was an Assyrian usage. 
To put a hook in a man's mouth, and a bridle in his 
jaws (2 Kings xix. 28), was no metaphor expressive 
of mere defeat and capture, but a literal description of 
a practice that was common in the age and country — 
a practice from which their royal rank did not exempt 
even captured monarchs. 

The pardon extended by Esar-haddon to Manasseh, 
little consonant as it is with general Oriental practice, 
agrees well with the character of this particular 
monarch, whose rule was remarkably mild, and who 
is proved by his inscriptions to have been equally 

^See "Ancient Monaichies," vol. i., pp. 243, 292 (2d ed,). 
2 Ibid., vol. iii., p. 7. 


merciful on other occasions. When a son of Mero- 
dach-Baladan, who had been in revolt against his 
authority, quitted his refuge in Susiana, and presented 
himself before Esar-haddon's footstool at Nineveh, 
that monarch received him favourably, accepted his 
homage, and appointed him to the government of a 
large tract upon the Persian Gulf, previously ruled by 
his father, and afterwards by his elder brother.^ 
Again, when the chief of the Gambalu, an Aramaean 
tribe upon the Euphrates, after revolt, submitted him- 
self, and brought the arrears of his tribute, together 
with a present of buffaloes, Esar-haddon states that he 
forgave him, strengthened his city with fresh works, 
and continued him in the government of it.^ 

" Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, 
and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem ; and he did that which was 
evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Against him came up Nebuchad- 
nezzar, king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Baby- 
lon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the 
Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon." — 2 Chron. 
xxxvi. 5-7. 

With this notice may be compared the following, 
which relates to the same series of occurrences : — 

" In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, came 
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon unto Jeinisalem, and besieged it. And 
the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his hand, with part of the 
vessels of the house of God ; which he carried into the land of Shinar 
to the house of his god ; and he brought the vessels into the treasure 
house of his god." — Dan. i. i, 2. 

^ "Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 188. ^Ibid., p. 191. 


In these passages we have brought before us, I. The 
independence of Babylon, which, when last mentioned 
(2 Chron. xxxiii. 1 1), was subject to the king of 
Assyria; 2. Its government by a prince named " Neb- 
uchadnezzar," or, as Ezekiel transliterates the word 
from the Babylonian, "Nebuchadrezzar" (Ezek. xxvi. 
7) ; 3. The fact that this prince made a great expedition 
into Palestine in the third year of Jehoiakim, king of 
Judah, besieged Jerusalem, and took it, and made 
Jehoiakim a prisoner; 4. The further fact, that he 
carried off from the Jewish temple a certain portion of 
the holy vessels, conveyed them to Babylon, and 
placed them there " in the house of his god." 

With respect to the first point, profane history 
tells us by the mouth of a large number of writers,^ 
that towards the close of the seventh century b. c. 
the Assyrian empire came to an end, Nineveh was 
destroyed, and Babylon stepped into a position of 
greatly augmented power and authority. The exact 
date of the change is undetermined ; but it was cer- 
tainly not earlier than B.C. 625, and not later than 
B. c. 606. The third year of Jehoiakim seems to have 
been b. c. 605. Thus the independence of Babylonia, 
distinctly implied in the above passages, was beyond 
all doubt difait accompli at the time mentioned. 

The second point — the government of Babylonia 
at this exact time by a prince named Nebuchadnezzar 
or Nebuchadrezzar — is to some extent a difficulty. 

^ As Herodotus (i. io6, 1 78), Polyhistor, Abydenus, the writer of the 
Book of Tobit (xiv. 13), and others. 


The name indeed is abundantly confirmed. Nine- 
tenths of the baked bricks found in Babylonia bear 
the stamp of '' Nabu-kiidurri-uztir, the son of Nabu- 
pal-uzur, king of Babylon." And Berosus, Abydenus, 
and Alexander Polyhistor, all give the name with 
little variation. But Babylonian chronology made 
Nebuchadnezzar ascend the throne, not in B.C. 605, 
but in B. c. 604 ; and Berosus expressly stated that the 
first expedition conducted by Nebuchadnezzar into 
Syria, Palestine and the northeastern parts of Egypt, 
fell into the lifetime of his father, Nabopolassar, and 
preceded his own establishment on the Babylonian 
throne.^ The difficulty is sometimes met by the sup- 
position that Nebuchadnezzar was associated in the 
kingdom by his father before setting out upon his 
expedition (and association was certainly a practice 
not unknown to the Babylonians) ; but the more 
probable explanation is, that the sacred writers call 
Nebuchadnezzar " king of Babylon," on first making 
mention of him, because he became such; jus^as we 
ourselves might say, " King George the Fourth re- 
ceived the allied sovereigns on their visit to England 
after Waterloo ; " or, ** The Emperor Louis Napoleon 
was long a prisoner in the fortress of Ham ; " although 
George the Fourth received the sovereigns as prince 
regent, and Louis Napoleon was not emperor till 
many years after his imprisonment was over.^ Or, it 
may have been assumed by the Jews that the leader 

1 Berosus, Fr. 14. 

2 See Dr. Pusey's " Daniel," p. 400. 


of the great expedition was the king of the people 
whom he led against them, and the sacred writers 
may have received no directions to correct the popular 

The expedition itself, and its synchronism with 
Jehoiakim's third year, is generally allowed. Berosus 
related, that in the last year of Nabopolassar's reign, 
which by the Canon of Ptolemy was b. c. 605, he sent 
his son Nebuchadnezzar to crush a revolt of the 
western provinces. Nebuchadnezzar was successful, 
conquered Syria and Phoenicia, and had invaded 
Egypt, when news of his father's death reached him, 
and forced him to return to his own capital. 

The fourth point — one of comparative detail — re- 
ceives very curious illustration from the Babylonian 
monuments. Nebuchadnezzar is said to have placed 
the holy vessels which he carried off from Jerusalem 
in his temple at Babylon," " the house of his god',' and 
to have " brought them into the treasure-house of Ids 
godr These expressions are at first sight surprising, 
considering that the Babylonian religion was poly- 
theistic, that Babylon had many temples, and that the 
kings, as a general rule, distributed their favours impar- 
tially among the various personages of the pantheon. 
It is, however, an undoubted fact that Nebuchadnezzar 
formed an exception to the general rule. He was a 
devotee of Merodach. He calls Merodach "his lord," 
" his gracious lord," " his maker," " the god who 
deposited his germs in his mother's womb," " the god 
who created him, and assigned him the empire over 


multitudes of men." One of the foremost of his own 
titles is " Worshipper of Merodach." He regards 
Merodach as " the great lord," " the lord of lords," 
" the chief of the gods," " the king of heaven and 
earth," " the god of gods." Even on the cylinders 
which record his dedication of temples to other deities 
it is Merodach whom he principally glorifies.^ Sir H. 
Rawlinson says : " The inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar 
are for the most part occupied with the praises of 
Merodach, and with prayers for the continuance of his 
favour. The king ascribes to him his elevation to the 
throne : ' Merodach, the great lord, has appointed me 
to the empire of the world, and has confided to my 
care the far-spread people of the earth ; ' * Merodach, 
the great lord, the senior of the gods, the most 
ancient, has given all nations and people to my care,' 
etc. The prayer also to Merodach, with which the 
inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar always terminate, in- 
vokes the favor of the god for the protection of the 
king's throne and empire, and for its continuance 
through all ages to the end of time."^ 

The temple of Merodach at Babylon is properly 
called " Nebuchadnezzar's temple," because he com- 
pletely rebuilt and restored it. It was the great temple 
of Babylon, and known to the Greeks as the "temple 
(or tower) of Belus." To its ruins the name of " Babil " 
still attaches. Nebuchadnezzar describes his restora- 
tion of it at great length in his " Standard Inscrip- 

^ See " Records of the Past," vol. vii., pp. 71-78. 
2 Rawlinson, "Herodotus," vol. i., p. 652 (3d edition). 


tion ;"^ and his statement is confirmed by the fact that 
all the inscribed bricks which have ever been found in 
it bear his name. Special mention of the " treasure- 
house " attached to the temple has not been found in 
the Babylonian remains ; but it was probably the 
building at the base of the great tower, which is 
described by Herodotus as a " second temple," and 
said to have contained furniture and figures in solid 
gold, together with many other offerings. 


1 See " Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 116-120. 

2 Herod., i. 1S3. 



The numerous expeditions of the Babylonians against 
Jerusalem, subsequently to the first attack in b. c. 605, 
receive no direct confirmation from the cuneiform 
monuments, probably owing to the fact that no 
general historical inscription descriptive of the events 
of Nebuchadnezzar's reign has been as yet discovered. 
The records of his tim.e which modern research has 
unearthed, consist almost entirely either of invocations 
addressed to the gods, or of descriptions and measure- 
ments connected with his great works. ^ Alexander 
Polyhistor, however, noticed an expedition of Nebu- 
chadnezzar's into these parts, which appears to have 
been that conducted in the year b. c. 597, against 
Jehoiakim, whereof we have the following notice in 
the Second Book of Kings : — 

^ Until the year 1878, no historical inscription of Nebuchadnezzar's 
had come to light. In that year a small and mutilated cylinder, giving 
an account of some events belonging to his thirty-seventh year, was 
purchased by the British Museum. Further reference will be made to 
this cylinder in a future chapter. 



" The Lord sent against him " (/, e. Jehoiakim) " bands of the 
Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and 
bands of the children of Animon, and sent them against Judah to 
destroy it, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by His 
servants the prophets." — 2. Kings xxiv. 2. 

Polyhistor tells us^ that the expedition was one in 
which Nebuchadnezzar called in the aid of his allies, 
among others, of the Median king called by him 
Astibaras, who seems to represent Cyaxares. The 
number of troops employed was unusually great, 
amounting, according to the same authority, to ten 
thousand chariots, one hundred and twenty thousand 
horsemen, and one hundred and eighty thousand 
infantry. These numbers imply an army gathered 
from many nations, and account for the expressions, 
" bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, 
and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children 
of Ammon," in the passage of Kings, as well as for 
the following in Ezekiel : — 

" Then the nations set against him on eveiy side from the provinces, 
and spread their net over him : he was taken in their pit." — Ezek. 
xix. 8. 

The context of this passage shows that the monarch 
intended is Jehoiakim. 

On passing from the reign of Jehoiakim to that of 
Jehoiachin, the author of Kings makes the following 
remark : — 

" And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land ; 
for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the 

^ Fragm. Hist. Gr., vol. iii,, p. 229, Fr. 24. 


river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt." — 2 Kings 
xxiv. 7. 

This remark, though interposed at this point, belongs, 
so far as it bears on Babylon, to an anterior time. 
The king of Egypt, the writer intends to say, did not 
at this time lend any help to Jehoiakim against Nebu- 
chadnezzar, did not even set foot beyond his borders, 
because some years previously the Egyptians had been 
worsted in an encounter with the Babylonians, and had 
lost to them the whole of their Asiatic dominions — 
the entire tract between the torrent {nakhal) of Egypt, 
or the Wady el Arish, and the Euphrates. The event 
glanced at is among the most important in the history 
of the East. When Necho, king of Egypt, in b. c. 
608, carried the Egyptian arms triumphantly from the 
Nile valley to the Upper Euphrates, it seemed as if the 
old glories of the Thothmeses and Amenhoteps 
were about to be renewed, as if Egypt was about to 
become once more the dominant power in western 
Asia, and to throw the hordes of Asiatic invaders back 
upon their own continent. A permanent advance of 
Egypt, and retrocession of Babylon, at this time 
would greatly have complicated the political problem, 
and might seriously have checked that aggressive 
spirit which was already moving Asia to attempt the 
conquest of Europe. When Nabopolassar, therefore, 
in the last year of his reign, sent his son Nebuchad- 
nezzar to challenge Necho to a trial of strength, and 
the hosts of Africa and Asia met in battle array at 
the great frontier fortress of Carchemish (Jer. xlvi. 


2), the issue raised was of no small importance, being 
nothing less than the question whether African power 
and influence should or should not maintain itself in 
Syria and the adjoining regions, should or should not 
establish its superiority over the power of Asia, should 
or should not step into a position which would have 
brought it shortly into direct contact with the civiliza- 
tion of the Greeks. The battle of Carchemish, as it 
is called, decided these questions. The armies of 
Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh- Necho met in the 
vicinity of Carchemish (now Jerablus), in the fourth 
year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, which was the 
accession year of Nebuchadnezzar, and contended in 
a great battle, wherein ultimately the Babylonians 
were victorious. The battle is prophetically, but very 
graphically, described by the prophet Jeremiah : — 

" Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle," he says ; 
" harness the horses, and get up, ye horsemen" (or rather, "mount, ye 
chariotmen "), " and stand forth with your helmets ; furbish the spears ; 
put on the brigandines. Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and 
turned away back ? Their mighty men are beaten down, and are fled 
apace, and look not back ; for fear was round about, saith the Lord. 
Ixt not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape ; they shall 
stumble and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates. Who is 
this that Cometh up as a flood, whose waters toss to and fro as 
the rivers ? Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are tossed to 
and fro like the rivers ; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the 
earth ; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.. Come up, 
ye horses ; and rage, ye chariots ; and let the mighty men come forth, 
Cush and Phut that handle the shield, and Lud that handle and bend 
the bow. For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of 
vengeance, that He may avenge Him of His adversaries ; and the 


sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their 
blood ; for the Lord God of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country 
by the river Euphrates. Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, 
the daughter of Egypt : in vain shalt thou use many medicines ; for 
thou shalt not be cured. The nations have heard of thy shame, and 
thy ciy hath filled the land : for the mighty man hath stumbled against 
the mighty, and they are fallen both together." — Jer. xlvi, 3-12. 

A fierce struggle is here indicated, a hardly con- 
tested battle, terminating in a complete defeat. Egypt 
is not surprised — not taken at disadvantage. She has 
ample time to call together her armed force of natives 
and auxiliaries, Cush and Phut and Lud. Her 
chariots are marshalled in their gallant array, together 
with her horsemen and her footmen : she " rises up 
like a flood," bent on conquest rather than on mere 
resistance. But all is in vain. " It is the day of the 
Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance." By the river 
Euphrates the mighty men stumble and fall — they are 
dismayed and beaten down ; in a short time they are 
compelled to fly — they " flee apace, and look not 
back." The mighty man hath met a mightier ; the 
forces of Asia have proved too strong for those of 
Africa ; the Nile flood is swept back on its own land. 

Profane history, while touching the struggle itself 
only in a single sentence,^ amply signalizes the result. 
With the battle of Carchemish, Babylon, for long ages 
oppressed and held in subjection, springs up to notice 
as an empire. Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, hitherto 
threatened alternately by Egypt and Assyria, now find 
a new foe in the great city on the lower Euphrates, 

^ Beros. ap. Joseph., Contr. Ap. i. 19, \ 2. 


and become fiefs of the Babylonian crown. Egypt's 
attempt to recover, under the Psamatiks, the Asiatic 
dominion which had been hers under the Thothmeses 
and Amenhoteps, is rudely checked. Her own terri- 
tory is invaded, and she becomes for a time a " base 
kingdom," the subject-ally and tributary of another. 
Babylon is recognized as one of the "great powers" 
of Asia, sends her armies within the Cilician gates, 
wastes Tyre, destroys Jerusalem, makes alliances with 
Media and Lydia. The general position of affairs in 
Western Asia for the next sixty years was determined 
by the events of that campaign, wherein " the king of 
Babylon took from the river of Egypt unto the river 
Euphrates all that pertained unto the king of Egypt." 

" They burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusa- 
lem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the 
goodly vessels thereof: and them that had escaped from the sword 
caiTied he away to Babylon, where they weie servants to him and his 
sons, until the reign of the kingdom of Persia." — 2 Chron. xxxvi. 
19, 20. 

The complete destruction of Jerusalem, and trans- 
fer of its inhabitants from Palestine to Babylonia, 
momentous events as they were in the history of the 
Jewish nation, and in that discipline of severity which 
was to purge out its dross from the people of God, 
and fit them to hold up the torch of truth to the 
nations for another half millennium, did not greatly 
attract the attention of the world at large, or even 
obtain record generally at the hands of the historio- 
graphers who were engaged in chronicling the events 


of the time. In Babylon, indeed, it must have been 
otherwise. There, if nowhere else, the final capture 
and ruin of so great, so renowned, so ancient a city, 
after a siege which lasted eighteen months, must 
beyond a doubt have been entered upon the records, 
with the view of its being handed down to posterity. 
But, unfortunately, it happens that at present, as 
already observed, Nebuchadnezzar's historical inscrip- 
tions remain undiscovered ; and consequently we are 
still deprived of such light as a Babylonian account of 
the capture of Jerusalem would naturally have thrown 
on the whole subject. The fragments of Berosus 
might have been expected to supply the deficiency ; 
but, at the best, they are scanty, and for the time of 
Nebuchadnezzar they furnish nothing but a bare out- 
line. They do just state that Nebuchadnezzar made 
an expedition into Palestine and Egypt, carried all 
before him, and, after burning the temple at Jerusa- 
lem, bore away into captivity the whole Jewish people, 
and settled them in different places in Babylonia; 
but they give no further particulars. Not even is the 
name of the Jewish king mentioned, nor that of the 
general to whom Nebuchadnezzar entrusted the exe- 
cution of his orders for the destruction of the city. 

Direct illustration of the destruction of Jerusalem, 
and captivity of the Jewish people, is therefore at 
present impossible. Still history may be said to 
illustrate indirectly this portion of the sacred records 
by the examples which it sets forth of parallel instances. 
The complete destruction of a great city by the 


powers which conquer it is a rare event, requiring as 
it does a dogged determination on the part of the 
conqueror, and a postponement of immediate gain to 
prospective advantage. But the complete destruction 
of Nineveh, which is abundantly attested, had taken 
place not very long before, and must have been fresh 
in the minds of men at the time, furnishing a prece- 
dent for such extreme severity, while a sufficient 
motive may be discerned in the important position of 
Jerusalem, and the persistency of the rebellious spirit 
in its inhabitants. 

Transplantations of conquered nations are unknown 
in modern warfare, and scarcely belong to the history 
of the West. But in the East they were common 
anciently, and are still not wholly unknown. The 
Kurds, who protect the northeastern frontier of Persia 
against the raids of the Turkomans, were transported 
thither by Nadir Shah, after a revolt in Kurdistan, 
being thus transferred from the extreme west almost 
to the extreme east of his empire. Sargon trans- 
ported the Samaritans to Gozan and Media; Senna- 
cherib carried off 200,000 Jews from Judaea; Esar- 
haddon placed Elamites, Susianians and Babylonians 
in Samaria. Darius Hystaspis brought the nation of 
the Paeonians from Europe into Asia Minor,'^ removed 
the Barcaeans to Bactria^ and the Eretrians to Arde- 
ricca, near Susa.^ The forcible removal of large 
populations from their native countries to a remote 
region was a portion of the system under which great 

* Herod., v. 17. 2 ibid., iv. 204. ^ Ibid., vi. 119. 


empires were administered in the oriental world from 
the time of Sargon downwards, and was regarded as 
especially suited for the case where a race distin- 
guished itself by persistence in revolt. 

" It came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of 
Jchoiachin, king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and 
twentieth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach, king of Babylon, in 
the year that he began to reign, did lift up the head of Jehoiachin, king 
of Judah, out of prison ; and he spake kindly to him, and set his throne 
above the thrones of the kings that were with him in Babylon; and 
changed his prison garments : and he did eat bread continually before 
him all the days of his life." — 2 Kings xxv. 27-29. 

Evil-Merodach was mentioned as the son and suc- 
cessor of Nebuchadnezzar by Berosus and Abydenus. 
His name has also been found on no fewer than eleven 
Babylonian contract tablets, and is transliterated by 
the best authorities, *' Avil-Marduk." There can be 
no doubt of the position of this king in the Babylo- 
nian list between Nebuchadnezzar and Neriglissar, or 
Nergal-sar-uzur. As Jehoiachin was carried captive to 
Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in the eighth year of his 
reign (2 Kings xxiv. 12), and Nebuchadnezzar reigned 
forty-three years, according to Berosus, Ptolemy, and 
the tablets — commencing his reign in B.C. 605, and 
ending it in B.C. 562 — the "seven and thirtieth year 
of the captivity of Jehoiachin " would exactly coincide 
with the first regnal year of Evil-Merodach, which 
was B.C. 561. 

The mild treatment of a rebel, whom Nebuchad- 
nezzar had kept in durance for so many years, was 


perhaps regarded by the Babylonians as a wrongful 
departure from their customs. At any rate, we learn 
from Berosiis that within two years of his accession 
Evil-Merodach was put to death by his subjects, on 
the charge of ruling in a laivlcss and intemperate 
fashion. As Jehoiachin " did eat bread continually 
before Evil-Merodach all the days of his (i.e. Jehoia- 
chin's) life," we must suppose that he died within less 
than two years from his release. He would have been 
at the time between fifty and sixty years of age. 

" Those that had escaped from the sword canied he" {i.e. Nebu- 
chadnezzar) " away to Babylon, where they were servants to him and his 
sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia ; to fulfil the woi'd of the 
Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sab- 
baths ; for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil t/ure- 
score and ten years r — 2 Chron. xxxvi. 20, 21. 

The statement that the Israelites " were servants to 
Nebuchadnezzar and Ids sons " is at first sight contra- 
dictory to the Babylonian history, as delivered to us 
by profane authors. According to them, Nebuchad- 
nezzar was succeeded by one son only, viz., Evil- 
Merodach, after whom the crown fell to a certain 
Neriglissar, or Nergal-sar-uzur, who was not a blood 
relation. Neriglissar, however, had married a daughter 
of Nebuchadnezzar, and having thus become a son-in- 
law, may conceivably be termed a " son." He was 
succeeded by his own son, Laborosoarchod, probably a 
grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, who would come under 
the term '* son " by the ordinary Hebrew usage. The 
successor of Laborosoarchod was, we are told, " in no 


way related" to the family of Nebuchadnezzar. There 
are some reasons, however, for believing that he, too, 
married a daughter of the great monarch ; so that he, 
too, may have been regarded as " a son " in the same 
sense with Npriglissar. 

The seventy years of the captivity, during which the 
land lay waste, and *' enjoyed its sabbaths," may be 
counted from different dates. In this place the year 
of the final destruction of Jerusalem seems to be taken 
as the tenniiuis a quo. This was B.C. 586, the nine- 
teenth year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings xxv. 3-8 ; 
Jer. lii. 6-12), and the passage would therefore seem 
to point to B.C. 516 as the termination of the captivity 
period. Now B.C. 516, the sixth of Darius Hystaspis, 
was, in fact, the close of the period of depression and 
desolation, so far as the temple was concerned (Ezra 
vi. 15). But the personal captivity, the desolation 
of the land through loss of inhabitants, both began 
and ended earlier. Jeremiah evidently intended his 
" seventy years " to count from the first capture of 
Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. xxv. 1-12), which 
was in B.C. 605 ; and Daniel must have counted from 
the same date when he felt, in B.C. 538, that the time 
of release was approaching (Dan. ix. 2). It is ques- 
tionable, however, whether the full term of the pro- 
phetic announcement, thus understood, was actually 
reached. If Nebuchadnezzar carried away his first 
captives from Jerusalem in B.C. 605, and Cyrus issued 
his edict for the return in his first year (2 Chron. 
xxxvi. 22; Ezra, i. i), which was b. c. 538, the seven- 


tieth year had certainly not then commenced. Even 
if the captives did not take immediate advantage of 
the edict, but made the journey from Babylonia to 
Palestine in the year following the proclamation, b. c. 
537, which is not improbable, still the captivity had 
not endured seventy years, but only sixty-eight. It is 
usual to meet the difficulty by the supposition that 
the first year of Cyrus in Scriphire is really the third 
year from his conquest of Babylon, Darius the Mede 
having been made viceroy of Babylon under Cyrus 
during the first two years after the conquest. This 
is, no doubt, a possible explanation. But it is perhaps 
as probable that the round number "seventy," in the 
prophecy of Jeremiah, was not intended to be exact, 
but approximate, and that the actual duration of the 
captivity fell short by a year or two of the threatened 

That " the reign of the kingdom of Persia " imme- 
diately succeeded to that of Babylon, which was 
swallowed up by the great Aryan power within seventy 
years of the accession of Nebuchadnezzar, is declared 
with one voice by the classical historians, and has been 
recently confirmed by more than one native document. 
Two inscriptions, brought from Babylonia within the 
last decade, describe the circumstances under which 
the great empire of Babylon collapsed before the 
arms of Cyrus the Great, and was absorbed into his 
dominions. The details of the subjection will have to 
be considered hereafter, when we comment on those 
passages of Scripture which treat directly of the fall of 


the city. At present we desire simply to note the con- 
firmation by the monuments of the Persian conquest, 
effected by Cyrus the Great, in the seventeenth year 
of Nabonidus, which was the sixty-eighth year after 
the accession of Nebuchadnezzar and his first capture 
of Jerusalem/ 

^ See the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, vol. vi., 
pp. 47-61. 



The history of the chosen people during the period of 
the Babylonian captivity is carried on in a book which 
we are accustomed to regard as prophetical, but in 
which the historical element decidedly preponderates. 
The first six chapters of Daniel contain a continuous 
and most important narrative. The scene of the 
history has been transferred from Jerusalem to Baby- 
lon. We are introduced into the court of the great 
King Nebuchadnezzar, and shown his grandeur, his 
pride, his cruelty, his relentings, his self-glorification, 
his punishment. We find the Jews his captives, 
scattered in various parts of his territories (ch. ix. 7), 
without organization or national life, a mere herd of 
slaves, down-trodden and oppressed for the most part. 
At the court, however, it is different. There four 
Jews, of royal, or at any rate noble blood, occupy a 
position of some importance, take rank among the 
courtiers, hold communication with the monarch, and 
are called upon to advise him in circumstances of 
difficulty (ch. i. 17-20). After a time they rise still 
higher in the king's favour, and are promoted to some 


of the chief governmental offices in the kingdom (ch. 
ii. 48, 49). One, the writer of great part of the book, 
if not even of the whole, becomes the very first person 
in the kingdom next to the king, and lives and prospers 
under four monarchs, called respectively, Nebuchad- 
nezzar, Belshazzar, Cyrus, and Darius. We have thus 
a considerable body of Babylonian history in this 
(so-called) prophetical book ; and numerous points 
present themselves on which some illustration of the 
history from profane sources is possible. 

Let us take, first, the character of Nebuchadnezzar's 
court. It is vast and complicated, elaborate in its 
organization, careful in its etiquette, magnificent in its 
ceremonial. Among the most important personages 
in it are a class who profess to have the power of 
expounding dreams, and generally foretelling future 
events by means of magic, sorcery, and astrology (ch. 
ii. 2, 10, 27, etc.). Next to these are the civil admin- 
istrators, " princes, governors, captains, judges, treas- 
urers, councillors, sheriffs, and rulers of provinces " 
(ch. iii. 2), who are specially summoned to attend in 
full numbers on certain grand occasions. The king is 
waited on by eunuchs, sometimes of royal descent, who 
are subjected to a three years' careful training, and 
are under the superintendence of a ''master of the 
eunuchs," who is an officer of high position (ch. i. 3-5). 
The monarch has, of course, a " body-guard," which is 
under the command of a " captain " (ch. ii. 14), another 
high official. Music is used at the court in ceremo- 
nials, and is apparently of an advanced kind, the bands 


comprising performers on at least six different musical 
instruments (ch. iii. 5, 7, 10, etc.). 

The Babylonian and Assyrian remains amply illus- 
trate most of these particulars. Magic holds a most 
important place in both nations, and the monarchs 
set a special value on it. Their libraries contained 
hundreds of tablets, copied with the utmost care, on 
which were recorded the exorcisms, the charms, the 
talismans and the astronomical prognostics, which had 
come down from a remote antiquity, and which were 
implicitly believed in. The celestial phenomena were 
constantly observed, and reports sent to the court from 
the observatories, which formed the groundwork of 
confident predictions.^ Eclipses were especially noted, 
and, according to the month and day of their occur- 
rence, were regarded as portending events, political, 
social, or meteorological.^ We give a specimen from 
an astronomical calendar : — 

" In the month of Ekil (August), the 14th day, an eclipse happens; 
in the north it begins, and in the south and east it ends ; in the evening 
watch it begins, and in the night watch it ends. To the king of Mul- 
lias a crown is given. , . . There are rains in heaven, and in the 
channels of the rivers floods. A famine is in the country, and men sell 
their sons for silver. 

"An eclipse happens on the 15th day. The king's son murders his 
father, and seizes on the throne. The enemy plunders and devours the 

"An eclipse happens on the i6th day. The king of the Hittites 
plunders the land, and on the throne seizes. There is rain in heaven, 
and a flood descends in the channels of the rivers. 

1 " Records of the Past," vol. i., pp. 153-157- 
2 Ibid., pp. 158-161. 


" An eclipse happens on the 20th day. There are rains in heaven, 
and floods in the rivers. Country makes peace with country, and keeps 

" An eclipse happens on the 21st day. The enemy's throne does not 
endure. A self-appointed king rules in the land. After a year the Air 
god causes an inundation. After a year the king does not remain. His 
country is made small." ^ 

The application of the ethnic term " Chaldaean " 
(Kasdim) to the learned caste, or class, which occupied 
itself with the subjects of magic and astrology, so 
frequent in Daniel (ch. ii. 2, 4, 5, 10; v. 11), is found 
also in profane writers, as Strabo, Diodorus, Cicero, 
and others,^ who distinguish between Chaldseans and 
Babylonians, making the latter term the ethnic appel- 
lative of the nation at large, while they reserve the 
former for a small section of the nation, distinguished 
by the possession of abstruse and recondite learning. 
The distinction seems to have originated in the later 
period of the empire, and to have been grounded on 
an identification of the Chaldaeans with the Akkad, 
and on the fact that the old Akkadian language and 
learning was in the later times the special possession 
of a literary class, who furnished to the nation its 
priests, astrologers, magicians, and men of science. 
What the real connection was between the Chaldaeans 
and the Akkad is still uncertain ; but some ethnic 
affinity may be regarded as probable. 

1" Records of the Past," vol. i., p. 160. 

2 Diod. Sic. ii. 29; Strab. xvi. i, ^ 6; Cic. De Div. i. I, ^ 2; 42, 
\ 93; Plin. H. N. vi. 30, I 123, etc. 


The division of the learned class into three distinct 
bodies, devoted to different branches of the mystic lore 
in which all participated, receives illustration from the 
native remains, where the literature of magic comes 
under three principal heads: (i). Written charms or 
talismans, which were to be placed on the bodies of 
sick persons, or on the doorposts of afflicted houses;^ 
(2). Formulae of incantation, which had to be recited 
by the learned man in order to produce their proper 
effect;^ and (3). Records of observations, intended to 
serve as grounds for the prediction of particular events, 
together with collections of prognostics from eclipses 
or other celestial phenomena, regarded as having a 
general applicability.^ The preparation of the written 
charms or talismans was probably the special task of 
the " magicians " or kJicrttnniniin, whose name is 
formed from the root khcrct, which signifies " an 
engraving tool," or " stylus." The composition and 
recitation of the formulae of incantation belonged to 
the aslisJiaplihn or mccasJiapliim, the " astrologers " 
and " sorcerers " of our version, whose names are 
derived from the root ashaph or cashapJi, which means 
" to mutter." ^ The taking of observations and framing 
of tables of prognostics is probably to be assigned to 
the gdzeriin or " dividers," in our version " sooth- 
sayers " who divided the heavens into constellations 

^See "Records of the Past," vol. iii., p. 142. 
2 Ibid., vol. iii., pp. 147-152, and xi., 128-138. 
'Ibid., vol. i., pp. 153-163. 
*Furst, "Concordant.," p. 133. 


or " houses " for astronomical and astrological pur- 

The attention paid to dreams (ch. ii. 1-46; iv. 5-27) 
by the Babylonian monarch is quite in accordance 
with what we know of the state of opinion, both in 
Babylonia and Assyria, about the time of Nebuchad- 
nezzar. The Assyrians had a '' dream deity," whom 
they called Makhir, and regarded as " the daughter of 
the Sun," and to whom they were in the habit of 
praying, either beforehand, to send them favourable 
dreams, or after they had dreamed, to "confirm" their 
dream, or make it turn out favourably to them.^ A 
late Assyrian monarch records that, in the course of a 
war which he carried on with Elam or Susiana, one 
of his " wise men" dreamed a remarkable dream, and 
forthwith communicated to him the particulars. 
" Ishtar," he said, " the goddess of war had appeared 
to him in the dead of night, begirt with flames on the 
right hand and on the left; she held a bow in her 
hand, and was riding in a chariot, as if going forth to 
war. Before her stood the king, whom she addressed 
as a mother would her child. . . . ' Take this bow,' she 
said, * and go with it to the battle. Wherever thou 
shalt pitch thy camp, I will come to thee.' Then 
the king replied, - * O queen of all the goddesses, 
wherever thou goest, let me accompany thee.' She 
made answer, ' I will protect thee, and march with 
thee at the time of the feast of Nebo. Meanwhile, 

^ "Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 575. 
2 " Records of the Past," vol. ix., p. 152. 


eat meat, drink wine, make music, and glorify my 
divinity, until I come to thee and this vision shall 
be fulfilled.' " Rendered confident by his dream, the 
Assyrian monarch marched forth to war, attacked the 
Elamites in their own country, defeated them, and 
received their submission.^ 

Not very long after the time of Nebuchadnezzar, 
Nabonidus, one of his successors, places on record the 
following incident : " In the beginning of my long 
reign," he says, " Merodach, the great lord, and Sin, 
the illuminator of heaven and earth, the strengthener 
of all, showed me a dream. Merodach spake thus 
with me : ' Nabonidus, king of Babylon, come up 
with the horses of thy chariot; build the walls of 
Ehulhul ; and have the seat of Sin, the great lord, 
set within it.' Reverently I made answer to the lord 
of the eods, Merodach, ' I will build this house of 
which thou speakest. The Sabmanda destroyed it, 
and strong was their might' Merodach replied to 
me, ' The Sabmanda of whom thou speakest, they and 
their country, and the king who rules over them, 
shall cease to exist.' In the third year he {i. e., Mero- 
dach) caused Cyrus, king of Ansan, his young servant, 
to go with his little army: he overthrew the wide- 
spreading Sabmanda; he captured Istumegu (i.e., Asty- 
ages), king of Sabmanda, and took his treasures to his 
own land."^ 

* " Records of the Past," vol. vii., p. 68. 

2 " Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archseology," November, 
1882, p. 7. 


The civil organization of the Babylonian kingdom 
is very imperfectly known to us. Neither sacred nor 
profane authorities furnish more than scattered and 
incomplete notices of it. We gather from Daniel 
merely that it was elaborate and complicated, involv- 
ing the employment by the crown of numerous officers, 
discharging distinct functions, and possessing different 
degrees of dignity. The names given to the various 
officers by Daniel can scarcely be those which were 
in actual use under the Babylonian monarch, since 
they are in many cases of Aryan etymology. Most 
likely they are the equivalents under the Medo-Persic 
system, which was established before Daniel wrote his 
book, of the Babylonian terms previously in vogue. 
Still in some instances the names sufficiently indicate 
the offices intended. The " princes " (literally " satraps ") 
of Dan. iii. 2, 3, 27, can only be governors of provinces 
(compare ch. vi. i), chief rulers under the monarch of 
the main territorial divisions of his empire. Such 
persons had been generally employed by the Assyrian 
kings in the government of the more settled parts of 
their dominions, and were no doubt continued by the 
Babylonians when the territories of Assyria were 
divided between them and the Medes. Gedaliah held 
the office in Judaea immediately after its conquest by 
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings xxv. 22-25 ; Jer. xl. 5). 
Another such Babylonian governor is actually called 
a "satrap "by Berosus.^ Babylonian witnesses to con- 
tracts still in existence often sign themselves " gov- 

^ Ap. Joseph., Coittr. Apion., i. 19. 


ernor, " sometimes ** governor " of a province, which 
they mention.^ The sagans ("governors" in our 
version) may be *' governors of towns," who are often 
mentioned in the inscriptions as distinct from gov- 
ernors of provinces. The "judges " (literally "noble 
judges") are no doubt the heads of the judicature, 
which was separate from the executive in Babylonia, 
as in Persia.^ They, too, appear in the inscriptions,^ as 
do " treasurers " and " captains."* It is not intended 
to assert that the correspondence between Daniel's 
account of the civil administration and that indicated 
by the Babylonian remains is very close or striking, 
but the general features certainly possess considerable 
resemblance, and there is as much agreement in the 
details as could fairly be expected. 

The employment of eunuchs at the Babylonian 
court, under the presidency of a "master of the 
eunuchs," is analogous to the well-known practice of 
the Assyrians, where the president, or " master," bore 
the title of rab-saris, or " chief eunuch " (2 Kings xviii. 
17). It also receives illustration from the story of 
Nanarus, as told by Nicholas of Damascus, a writer 
whose Asiatic origin makes him a high authority upon 
the subject of Oriental habits. Nanarus, according to 
him, was one of the later Babylonian monarchs, a 
successor of the Belesis who appears to represent 

1" Records of the Past," vol. ix., pp. 34, 92, 98, 107. 
2 Herod., iii. 31. 

3 "Records of the Past," vol. vii., p. 120; vol. xi., p. 103. 
*Ibid., vol. ix., p. 104; vol. xi., p. 103. 


Nabopolassar. His court was one in which eunuchs held 
all the most important positions ; and the head eunuch, 
Mitraphernes, was the chief counsellor of the king.^ 

The delight of the Babylonians in music, and the 
advanced condition of the art among them, is con- 
firmed and illustrated by the same story of Nanarus. 
Nanarus, according to Nicholas maintained at his 
court no fewer than a hundred and fifty female musi- 
cians, of whom some sang, while others played upon 
instruments. Among the instruments indicated are 
three of those mentioned in Daniel — the flute, the 
cithern ("harp," A.V.), and the psaltery. Sculpture 
does not readily lend itself to the representation of so 
large a crowd, but we see in a bas-relief of a date a 
little anterior to Nebuchadnezzar a band of twenty-six 
performers.^ At least eight or nine different instru- 
ments were known to the Assyrians,^ and we can 
therefore feel no surprise that six were in use among 
the Babylonians of Nebuchadnezzar's time. 

Considerable difficulty has been felt with respect to 
the names of several of the Babylonian instruments. 
These names have a Greek appearance ; and it has 
been asked by critics of reputation, " How could Greek 
musical instruments have been used at Babylon late in 
the seventh, or early in the sixth century before our 
era ? " A searching analysis of the words themselves 
has thrown a good deal of doubt on several of the 

^ See the Fragm. Hist. Gr., vol. iii., pp. 359-363. 
^"Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., p. 542. 
3 Ibid., pp. 529-539. 


supposed Greek etymologies. Kama and xc7>a?, kitlieros 
and xiddpiq^ sabkah and GaiJ.[ib7.rj are no doubt connected; 
but one of them is a root common to Semitic with 
Aryan, while the other two passed probably from the 
Orientals to the Greeks. The Chaldee karna is 
Hebrew keren, and is at least as old in Hebrew as the 
Pentateuch ; kitJieros is Persian sitareh, Greek y,iOdpi<i^ 
German zither, modern Arabic kootJiir ; sabkah is from 
sabak, a well-known Semitic root, and is an appropriate 
name for a " harp " in Hebrew ; ^ whereas aaix^uxr^ is 
an unmeaning name in Greek. To derive mdshrokitha 
from abpiy^ requires a very hardy etymologist. The 
two words may conceivably be derivatives from one 
root ; but neither can possibly have been the direct 
parent of the other. Even pesanterin and suniphojiyah 
though so near to (I'aXrripioy and aotKpajvia, are not 
allowed by all critics to be of Greek origin.^ Suppos- 
ing, however, that they are, and that they imply the 
use by the Babylonians of Greek instruments, which 
brought their names with them from their native 
country, as " pianoforte " and " concertina " have done 
with us, there is nothing extraordinary in the circum- 
stance. The Assyrians and the Greeks came into 
contact in Cyprus as early as the reign of Sargon,^ 
whose effigy has been found at Idalium. Esar-haddon 
obtained building materials from several Cyprian kings 
with Greek names.'* As the inheritress of Assyrian 

1 Pusey's " Daniel," p. 24, note 9. - 2 jbjd.^ pp, 27-30. 

2" Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 150. 
* " Records of the Past," vol. iii., p. 108. 



luxury and magnificence, Babylon would necessarily 
have some connection with Greeks. We hear of a Greek 
having served in Nebuchadnezzar's army, and won 
glory and reward under his banners.^ Direct inter- 
course with Hellenes may thus have brought Hellenic 
instruments to Babylon. Or the intercourse may have 
been indirect. The Phoenicians were engaged in a 
carrying trade between Europe and Asia from a time 
anterior to Solomon ; and their caravans were con- 
tinually passing from Tyre and Sidon, by way of 
Tadmor and Thapsacus, to the Chaldaean capital. 
Nothing would be more natural than the importation 
into that city, at any time between b. c. 605 and b. c. 
538, of articles manufactured in Greece, which the 
Babylonians were likely to appreciate. 

The position of the king in the Babylonian court, 
as absolute lord and master of the lives and liberties 
even of the greatest of his subjects, able to condemn 
to death, not only individuals (ch. iii. 19), but a whole 
class, and that class the highest in the state (ch. ii. 12- 
14), is thoroughly in accordance with all that profane 
history tells us of the Babylonian governmental sys- 
tem. In Oriental monarchies it was not always so. 
The writer of the Book of Daniel shows a just appre- 
ciation of the difference between the Babylonian and 
the Medo-Persian systems, when he makes Darius the 
Mede influenced by his nobles, and compelled to do 
things against his will by a " law of the Medes and 
Persians, which altered not" (ch. vi. 14-17); while 

1 Strab. xiii. 3, \ 2. 


Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian is wholly untram- 
meled, and does not seem even to consult his lords on 
matters where the highest interests of the state are 
concerned. Babylonian and Assyrian monarchs were 
absolute in the fullest sense of the word. No tradi- 
tional " law " restrained them. Their nobility was an 
official nobility, like that of Turkey at the present day. 
They themselves raised it to power ; and it lay with 
them to degrade its members at their pleasure. Officers 
such as the tartan, or '' commander-in-chief," the rab- 
shakeh, or " chief cup-bearer," and the rab-saris, or 
" chief eunuch," held the highest positions (2 Kings 
xviii. 17) — mere creatures of the king, whom a "breath 
had made," and a breath could as easily " unmake." 
The kings, moreover, claimed to be of Divine origin, 
and received Divine honours. " Merodach," says 
Nebuchadnezzar, " deposited my germ in my mother's 
womb." ^ Khammurabi claims to be the son of Mero- 
dach and Ri.^ He was joined in inscriptions with the 
great gods, Sin, Shamas, and Merodach, during his 
lifetime, and people swore by his name.^ Amaragu 
and Naram-sin are also said to have been deified while 
still living.^ It was natural that those who claimed, 
and were thought to hold so exalted a position, should 
exercise a despotic authority, and be unresisted, even 
when they were most tyrannical. 

1" Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 1 13. 

2 Ibid., vol. i., p. 8. ^ Ibid., vol. v., p. 109, 

*See note on Dan. vi. 7, in the "Speakers' Commentary." 



The character of Nebuchadnezzar, as depicted in the 
Book of Daniel, is confirmed as fully as could be ex- 
pected, considering the nature of the materials that 
have come down to us from profane sources. These 
materials are scanty, and of a peculiar character. 
They consist of a very few brief notices in classical 
writers, and of some half-dozen inscriptions belonging 
to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar himself, and appar- 
ently either composed by him or, at least, put forth 
under his authority. These inscriptions are in some 
cases of considerable length,^ and, so far, might seem 
ample for the purpose whereto we propose to apply 
them ; but, unfortunately, they present scarcely any 
variety. With the exception of one, which is histor- 
ical, but very short and much mutilated," they are 
accounts of buildings, accompanied by religious invo- 
cations. It is evident that such records do not afford 

^ One of them consists of ten columns, with an average of sixty-two 
lines in each, and in the "Records of the Past" occupies twenty-three 
pages (vol. iii., pp. 1 13-135). 

2 See the " Transactions of the Society of Bibl. Archteology," vol. 
vii., pp. 218-222. 

5* 53 


much opportunity for the display of more than a few 
points of character. They can tell us nothing of those 
qualities which are called forth in action, in the deal- 
ings of man with man, in war, in government, in 
domestic intercourse. Thus the confirmation which 
it is possible to adduce from this source can only be 
partial ; and it is supplemented only to a very small 
extent from the notices of. the classical writers. 

The most striking features of Nebuchadnezzar's 
character, as portrayed for us in Scripture, and espe- 
cially in the Book of Daniel, will probably be allowed 
to be the following: i. His cruelty. Not only is he 
harsh and relentless in his treatment of the foreign 
enemies who have resisted him in arms, tearincr thou- 
sands from their homes, and carrying them off into a 
miserable and hopeless captivity, massacring the chief 
men by scores (2 Kings xxv. 18-21), blinding rebel 
kings (ver. 7), or else condernning them to perpetual 
imprisonment (ver. 27), and even slaying their sons 
before their eyes (ver 7) ; but at home among his sub- 
jects he can condemn to death a whole class of per- 
sons for no fault but inability to do what no one had 
ever been even asked to do before (Dan. ii. 10-13), 
and can actually cast into a furnace of fire three of his 
best officers, because they decline to worship an 
image (iii. 20-23). 2. His pride and boastfulness. 
The pride of Nebuchadnezzar first shows -itself in 
Scripture in the contemptuous inquiry addressed to 
the " three children " (Dan iii. 15), " Who is that God 
that shall deliver you out of my hands ? " Evidently 


he believes that this is beyond the power of any god. 
He speaks, as Sennacherib spoke by the mouth of 
Rab-shakeh : " Hearken not to Hezekiah, when he 
persuadeth you, saying. The Lord will deliver us. 
Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all 
his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 
Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad ? 
Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah ? 
Have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand ? Who 
are they among the gods of the countries, that have 
delivered their country out of mine hand, that the 
Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand ? " 
(2 Kings xviii. 32-35,) The event shows him that he 
is mistaken, and that there is a God who can deliver 
His servants, and " change the king's word " (Dan. 
iii. 38), and then for a time he humbles himself; but, 
later on, the besetting sin breaks out afresh ; " his 
heart is lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride " 
(ch. V. 20), and he makes the boast which brings upon 
him so signal a punishment : " Is not this great Baby- 
lon that I have built for the house of my kingdom, by 
the might of my power, and for the Jionour of my 
majesty?'' The punishment inflicted once more hum- 
bled him, and he confessed finally that there was one, 
" the King of heaven, all whose works were truth, and 
His ways judgment;" and that "those who walk in 
pride He was able to abase " (ch. iv. 37). 3. His 
religiousness. The spoils which Nebuchadnezzar 
carried off from the Temple at Jerusalem he did not 
convert to his own use, nor even bring into the national 


treasury ; but " put them in his temple at Babylon " 
(2 Chron. xxxvi. 7), and *' brought them into the 
treasure-house of his god " (Dan. i. 2). When Daniel 
revealed to him his dream and its interpretation (ch. 
ii. 27-45), he at once confessed, " Of a truth your God 
is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer 
of secrets, seeing thou couldst reveal this secret." 
The image which he made, and set up on the plain of 
Dura, was not his own image, but an image of a Baby- 
lonian god (ch. iii. 12, 14, 18), to whom he was anxious 
that all his subjects should do honour. His anger 
against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego was not so 
much because they resisted his will, as because they 
would not " serve his god." When the fiery furnace 
had no power on them, he accepted the fact as proving 
that there was another God, whom he had not known 
of previously, and at once commanded that this new 
God should be respected throughout his dominions 
(ch. iii. 29). But his religiousness culminates in the 
last scene of his life that is presented to us in Scrip- 
ture. After his recovery from the severe affliction 
whereby his pride was punished, he at once, " lifted 
up his eyes to heaven," and " blessed the Most High, 
and praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever " 
(ch. iv. 34), and made a proclamation, which he 
caused to be published throughout the length and 
breadth of his vast dominions (ver. i), acknowledging 
his sin, and declaring that he " honoured and extolled 
the King of heaven " (ver. 37), and " thought it good 
to show the sicrns and wonders that the hi":h God had 


wrought towards him " (ver. 2), since " His signs were 
great, and His wonders mighty, and His kingdom an 
everlasting kingdom, and His dominion from genera- 
tion to generation " (ver. 3). 

A fourth and special characteristic of Nebuchad- 
nezzar, peculiar to him among the heathen monarchs 
brought under our notice in Scripture, is the mixed 
character of his religion, the curious combination which 
it presents of monotheism with polytheism, the worship 
of one God with that of many. Nebuchadnezzar's 
polytheism is apparent when he addresses Daniel as 
" one in whom is the spirit of the holy gods " (ch. iv. 
8, 9, 18), and again when he calls the figure which he 
sees walking with the " three children " in the furnace 
"a son of the gods'' pn'^x-ia, bar-ddJiiii (ch. iii. 25), 
and still more plainly when he recognizes the God 
who has delivered the " children " as a God, " their 
God" (ver. 28), and declares his belief that "no 
otJier god can deliver after this sort'' (ver. 29). His 
monotheism shows itself — though not made apparent 
in our version — when he sets up a single image, and 
calls on the people to worship " his god " (ch. iii. 14), 
when he recognizes Daniel's God as " a Lord of kings 
and God of gods" (ch. ii. 47), and most conspicuously 
when in his last proclamation he acknowledges " the 
high God " (5<^S;; ^'7"??', eldhd 'il/dyd, ch. iv. 2), " the 
Most High " (ver. 34), " the King of heaven " (ver. 37), 
Him that " liveth for ever " (ver. 34), and ''doctJi accord- 
ing to His will in the army of heaven and among the 
inhabitants of the earth," and " whose hand none can 


stay, nor can any say unto Him, What doest thou?" 
(ver. 35.) Either he fluctuates between two beliefs, or 
else his polytheism is of that modified kind which has 
been called " Kathenotheism," ^ where the worshipper, 
on turning his regards to any particular deity, " forgets 
for the time being that there is any other, and addresses 
the object of his adoration in terms of as absolute 
devotion as if he were the sole god w^hom he rec- 
ognized, the one and only divine being in the entire 
universe." ^ 

Limiting ourselves, for the present, to these four 
characteristics of the great Babylonian monarch — his 
cruelty, his boastful pride, his religiousness, and the 
curious mixture of two elements in his religion — let us 
inquire how far they are confirmed or illustrated by 
his own inscriptions, or by the accounts which profane 
writers have given of him. 

And first, with respect to his cruelty. Here, it 
must be confessed, there is little, if any, confirmation. 
The one brief historical inscription of Nebuchad- 
nezzar's time which we possess contains no notice of 
any severities, nor is the point touched in the few 
fragments concerning him which are all that classical 
literature furnishes. Berosus mentions the numerous 
captives whom he carried off to Babylonia in his first 
campaign,^ but does not seem to regard their fate as 
exceptionally wretched. Josephus gives us in some 

^Max Miiller, "Chips from a Gennan Workshop," vol. i., p. 28. 
2 See the author's " Religions of the Ancient World," A/ncn'canEd., 
p. 108. •'' Ap. Joseph., Ant. Jiid.^ x. ii, ^ i. 


detail the various cruelties recorded of him in Scrip- 
ture, and adds others, as that he put to death a king 
of Egypt whom he conquered;^ but Josephus is 
scarcely an unprejudiced witness. Abydenus, who 
tells us more about him than any other classical writer 
except Berosus, is bent on glorifying him, and would 
not be likely to mention what was to his discredit. If, 
however, we have no confirmation, we have abundant 
illustrations of Nebuchadnezzar's cruelties in the 
accounts given us of their own doings by the Assyrian 
monarchs to whose empire Nebuchadnezzar had suc- 
ceeded. Assyrian monarchs transport entire nations 
to distant lands, massacre prisoners by scores or 
hundreds, put captive kings to death, or mutilate 
them, cut men to pieces,^ and even burn them to death 
in furnaces.^ The recorded cruelties of Nebuchad- 
nezzar pale before those which Asshur-bani-pal, the 
son of Esar-haddon, who lived less than a century 
earlier, mentions as commanded by himself, and exe- 
cuted under his orders.*^ 

Nebuchadnezzar's pride and boastfulness were noted 
by Abydenus, who spoke of him as siiperbia tuniidus 
and fastii elattis^ His own inscriptions not only 
accumulate on him titles of honour and terms of 
praise, but seem altogether composed with the object 

*Ap. Joseph., Ant. Jud., x. 9, ? 7. ' ^ 

2 " Records of the Past," vol. ix., p. 57. 

^ Ibid., vol. i., p. 77 ; vol, ix., p. 56, etc. 

* Ibid., vol. i , pp. 57-102. 

5 " Fr. Hist. Grcec," vol. iv., p. 283, Fr. 8. 


of glorifying himself rather than the deities whom they 
profess to eulogise. Among the titles which he 
assumes are those of ''glorious prince," "the exalted," 
or ** the exalted chief," '* the possessor of intelligence," 
" he who is firm, and not to be overthrown," " the 
valiant son of Nabopolassar," " the devout and pious," 
*' the lord of peace," '' the noble king," and " the wise 
Mage." ^ Nebuchadnezzar declares that " the god 
Merodach deposited his germ in his mother's womb," 
that '' Nebo gave into his hand the sceptre of righteous- 
ness," that Sin was '* the strengthener of his hands," 
that Shamas '* perfected good in his body," and Gula 
"beautified his person."^ He boasts that he is "the 
eldest son of Merodach," who has made him " the 
chosen of his heart ;"^ he, for his part, is "the rejoicer 
of the heart of Merodach."* "Merodach has made 
him a surpassing prince ; " he " has extended Mero- 
dach's power ;"^ owing his own exaltation to Mero- 
dach and Nebo, he has exalted them in turn ; and the 
impression left is that they have had rather the better 
of the bargain. Other Babylonian kings are moderate 
in their self-praise compared with Nebuchadnezzar, as 
may be seen by his inscriptions and those of Neriglissar 
and Nabonidus. 

The religiousness of Nebuchadnezzar is even more 
conspicuous in his inscriptions than his pride. Not 
only was he, as a modern writer expresses if, " faithful 

1 " Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 1 13, 1 14; vol. vii., pp. 71, 75. 

2 Ibid., vol. v., pp. 113, 114, 122, 123. 3 Ibid., p. 125. 
* Ibid., p. 134. 6 Ibid., p. 134. 


to the orthodoxy of his day,"^ but a real devotion to 
his gods seems to have animated him. His own name 
for himself is "the heaven-adoring king."^ He places 
some god, generally Merodach, in the forefront of 
every inscription ; acknowledges that his life and 
success were the fruit of the divine favour ; labours to 
show his gratitude by praises and invocations, by the 
presentation of offerings, the building and repair of 
temples, the adornment of shrines, the institution of 
processions, and the proclamation of each god by his 
proper titles.^ He speaks of Merodach " accepting the 
devotion of his heart;'"* and there is no reason to 
doubt that he speaks sincerely. He looks to his 
deities for blessings, beseeches them to sustain his life, 
to keep reverence for them in his heart, to give him a 
long reign, a firm throne, abundant and vigorous 
offspring, success in war, and a record of his good 
deeds in their book.^ He hopes that these good deeds 
are acceptable to them, and are regarded with satisfac- 
tion : whether he expects them to be rewarded in 
another life is not apparent. 

The peculiar character of Nebuchadnezzar's religion 
— at one time polytheistic, at another monotheistic — is 
also evidenced by his inscriptions. The polytheism 
is seen in the distinct and separate acknowledgment of 
at least thirteen deities, to most of whom he builds 

*G. Smith, "History of Babylonia," p. 167. 
2 " Records of the Past," vol. vii., p. 78. 

^ Ibid., vol. v., pp. 113, 114, etc. * Ibid., p. 114. 

^ Ibid., vol. vii., pp. 72-77. 


temples, as well as in his mention of " the great gods," ^ 
and the expressions " chief of tlic gods,'' " king of 
gods,'' and " god oi gods," which are of frequent occur- 
rence. The monotheism, or at least the " katheno- 
theism," discloses itself in the attitude assumed towards 
Merodach, who is '' the great Lord," *' the God his 
maker," " the Lord of all beings," " the Prince of the 
lofty house," " the chief, the honourable, the Prince of 
the gods, the great Merodach," " the Divine Prince, the 
Deity of heaven and earth, the Lord God," " the King 
of gods and Lord of lords," " the chief of the gods," 
" the Lord of the gods," ''the God of gods," and " the 
King of heaven and earth." Nebuchadnezzar assigns 
to Merodach a pre-eminence which places him on a 
pedestal apart from and above all the other deities of 
his pantheon. He does not worship him exclusively, 
but he worships him mainly ; and when engaged in 
the contemplation of his greatness, scarcely takes into 
account the existence of any other deity. No other 
Babylonian king is so markedly the votary of one god 
as Nebuchadnezzar ; though, no doubt, something of 
a similar spirit may be traced in the inscriptions of 
Khammurabi, of Neriglissar, and of Nabonidus. 

Besides the main traits of character, of which we 
have hitherto spoken, there are certain minoj features 
in the biblical portraiture which seem entitled to men- 
tion. Nebuchadnezzar is brave and energetic. He 
leads his armies in person (2 Kings xxiv. i, 10; xxv. 

^"Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 129; "Trans, of Bibl. Arch. 
Soc," vol. vii., p. 219. 


i; Jer. xxi. 2; xxiv. i; xxxiv. i, etc.), presses his 
enterprises vigorously, is not easily discouraged or 
rebuffed, has the qualities of a good general, is brave, 
" bold in design, and resolute in action." ^ His own 
inscriptions so far agree, that they represent him 
as making war upon Egypt,^ as desiring "the conquest 
of his enemies' land,"^ and as looking forward to the 
accumulation at his great Babylonian temple of " the 
abundant tribute of the kings of nations and of all 
people." ^ Profane historians go far beyond this ; they 
represent him as one of the greatest of conquerors. 
Berosus ascribes to him the conquest of Syria, Phoe- 
nicia, Egypt, and Arabia ! ^ Abydenus says that he 
was "more valiant than Hercules," and not only 
reduced Egypt, but subdued all Libya, as far as the 
Straits of Gibraltar, and thence passing over into 
Spain, conquered the Iberians, whom he took with 
him to Asia, and settled in the country between Ar- 
menia and the Caucasus ! ^ Menander and Philostratus 
spoke of his thirteen-y ears-long siege of Tyre ; '' and 
Megasthenes put him on a par with Sesostris and 

The religion of Nebuchadnezzar was, as might have 
been expected, tinged with superstition. We are told 
in Scripture that on one occasion a " king of Babylon," 

^ G. Smith, " History of Babylonia," p. 166. 

2 " Transactions of Society of Bibl. Archaeology," vol. vii., p. 220. 

3" Records of the Past," vol. vii., p. 77. *Ibid., vol. v., p 135. 

^ See the fragments of Berosus in the " Fr. Hist. Gr.," vol. ii., fr. 14. 

* Ibid., vol. iv., p. 283, Fr. 9. 

■^ Ap. Joseph., Ant. Jud., x. ii, ^ 1, sub fin. ^ Ap. Strab., xv. i, \ 6. 


who can be no other than he, in one of his mihtary 
expeditions, "stood at the parting of the way, at the 
head of the two ways, to use divination. He made 
his arrows bright (or rather, ' he shook his arrows ') ; 
he consulted with images ; he looked in the Hver. At 
his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem " 
(Ezek. xxi. 21, 22). That is to say, having come to a 
certain point on his march, where the road parted, 
leading on the right hand towards Jerusalem, and 
on the left towards Rabbath of Ammon, instead of 
deciding on his course by military considerations, he 
employed divination, and allowed his campaign to be 
determined by a use of lots and a consultation of the 
entrails of victims. He showed an equal supersti- 
tiousness when, as we read on the Borsippa cylinder,^ 
he could not allow himself to commence the work of 
restoration, which the great temple of the Seven 
Spheres so imperatively needed, until he had first waited 
for " a fortunate month," and in that fortunate month 
found an "auspicious day." Then, at length, "the 
bricks of its wall, and the slabs that covered it, the 
finest of them, he collected, and rebuilt the ruins firmly. 
Inscriptions written in his own name he placed within 
it, in the finest apartments (?), and of completing the 
upper part he made an end." ^ It has been" said that 
all Babylonian kings were equally superstitious, and 
even that " the Babylonians never started on an expe- 
dition, or commenced any work, without consulting 

^ Sir H. Rawlinson in the author's " Herodotus," vol, ii., p. 586. 
2" Records of the Past," vol. vii., p. 77. 


the omens," ' but no proof has been given of this 
assertion, and certainly neither NerigHssar nor Nabo- 
nidus relate that they waited for " fortunate days " to 
commence their works of restoration. 

No doubt there are points in the character of 
Nebuchadnezzar with respect to which neither his own 
inscriptions nor the remains of classical antiquity 
furnish any illustration. His hasty and violent temper, 
quick to take offence, and rushing at once to the most 
extreme measures (Dan. ii. 9, 12 ; iii. 13, 19), is known 
to us only from the Book of Daniel, and the writers 
who follow that book in their account of him; e.g., 
Josephus. His readiness to relent, and his kindly 
impulse to make amends (ch. ii. 46,49; iii. 26-30), are 
also traits unnoticed by profane authors, and unap- 
parent in his inscriptions. But no surprise ought to 
be felt at this. We could only expect to find evidence 
of such qualities in inscriptions of a different character 
from those which have come down to us. Should the 
annals of Nebuchadnezzar ever be recovered, and 
should they be on the scale of those left by Asshur- 
bani-pal, or even those of Sennacherib, Sargon, and 
other earlier Assyrian kings, we might not improbably 
meet with indications of the great king's moods and 
temperament. The one historical inscription which we 
have is insufficient for the purpose. As originally 
written, it extended only to thirty lines, and of these 
there is not one which is not mutilated.^ Nor are the 

1 " Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 58. 

'^ See "Transactions of Soc. of Bibl. Arch.," vol. vii,, pp. 218-222. 


remains of the profane historians who treat of his time 
such as naturally to supply the deficiency. Of the 
account which Berosus gave of him, we possess but 
one considerable fragment; of Abydenus, we have two 
shorter ones ; the remaining writers furnish only a few 
sentences or a few lines. It is unfortunate that this 
should be so; but so it is. Had the *' Babylonian 
History " of Berosus come down to us complete, or 
had kind faith permitted that Antimenides, the brother 
of Alcaeus, should have written, and time have spared 
a record of his Babylonian experiences, the slighter 
details and more delicate shades of the monarch's 
character might have been laid open to us. At present 
we have to content ourselves with treating the broader 
features and more salient points of a character that 
was not without many minor tones and some curious 



" The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have 
built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for 
the honour of my majesty?" — Dan. iv. 30. 

When we think of the enormous size of Babylon, 
according to the most trustworthy accounts, it seems 
a most audacious boast on the part of any one man, 
that he had built the whole of it. Accordino- to Hero- 
dotus,^ who represents himself as having visited the 
city about b. c. 450, the walls formed a circuit of 480 
stades, or fifty-five miles, enclosing a square space, 
which was 120 stades, or nearly fourteen miles each 
way. Strabo reduced the circuit to 385 stades,^ Quin- 
tus Curtius to 368,^ Clitarchus to 365,^ and Ctesias to 
360.^. If we accept the smallest of these estimates, it 
will give us a square of above ten miles each way, and 
consequently an area of above a hundred square miles. 
This is a space four times as great as that of Paris 
within the enceinte, and fully double that of London 
within the bills of mortality. 

1 Herod., i. 178. ^gtrab., xvi. i, ^ 5. 

3Vit. Alex.. Magn., v. i. * Ap. Diod. Sic, ii. 7, ^ 3. ^ Ibid. 



No doubt it is true that only a portion of this 
immense area was covered by buildings. The district 
within the walls represented a vast entrenched camp, 
more than what we now mean by a city.^ Aristotle 
remarks with respect to it : " It is not walls by them- 
selves that make a town. Otherwise one would only 
have to surround the Peloponnese with a wall [in 
order to constitute it a city]. The case is the same 
with Babylon and all other towns, the walls of which 
enclose rather a nation than a body of citizens."^ 
Large portions of the space enclosed were occupied by 
gardens, orchards, and palm groves ; some part of it 
was even devoted to the cultivation of corn. It was 
calculated that, in case of a siege, the inhabitants 
might, by making the best use of all the unoccupied 
ground, raise grain sufficient for their own consump- 
tion.^ Still, the area devoted to buildings was very 
large. The royal quarter, or palatial inclosure, as 
arranged by Nebuchadnezzar, seems to have extended 
some miles, both in length and breadth. Outside this 
was the city proper, laid out on a regular plan, in 
streets cutting each other at right angles,^ like Man- 
heim and most American cities. The extent of this 
can only be guessed, for "the ninety stades " of Cur- 
tius is excessive as a diameter, insufficient as a circum- 

The height and massive character of the buildings 

1 Lenormant, "Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 226. 

2 Ai-istot. Pol., iii, I, sub fin. ^ Q. Curt., 1. s. c. 
* Herod., i. 180. 


was as remarkable as the area that they covered. 
Even the ordinary houses of the inhabitants were, in 
many instances, three or four stories high.^ The 
soHdity and strength of the walls was most extraor- 
dinary. Herodotus estimates their width at fifty, their 
height at two hundred cubits.^ He adds that the cubit 
of which he speaks is one of unusual length. Diodo- 
rus Siculus, who follows Ctesias, agrees almost exactly 
as to the height, which he makes fifty fathoms,^ or 
three hundred ordinary feet. Pliny* and Solinus^ 
reduce the three hundred feet of Diodorus to two 
hundred and thirty-five ; while Strabo, who may be 
supposed to follow the historians of Alexander, makes 
a further and still greater reduction, estimating the 
height at no more than seventy-five feet.^ Even this 
low figure implies a mass of brickwork amounting to 
thirteen hundred and ninety millions (1,390,000,000) 
of square feet, and would have required for its construc- 
tion at least three times that number of the largest 
bricks known to the Babylonians. If we accept the 
estimate of height given by Pliny and Solinus, we must 
multiply these amounts by three ; if we prefer that of 
Diodorus, by four ; if that of Herodotus, by four and a 
half On the supposition that Herodotus has correctly 
reported the dimensions of the wall in his day, to build 
it would have required eighteen thousand seven 
hundred and sixty-five millions (18,765,000,000) of 
the largest Babylonian bricks known to us. 

1 Herod., i. 180. 2 Ibid., i. 178. 5 Diod. Sic, ii. 7, \ 3. 

* H. iV., vi. 26. 5 " Polyhist," | 60. ^ suab., xvi. i, I 5. 


The royal quarter, or palatial enclosure, of Neb- 
uchadnezzar's time, comprised three, or according to 
some,^ four principal buildings. These were the old 
palace, the new palace, the hanging gardens, and (if we 
allow it to have been a sort of adjunct to the palace) 
the great temple of Bel-Merodach. It was also 
guarded by a wall, which Herodotus declares to have 
been " very little inferior in strength" to the outer wall 
of the city ;^ and it contained further a vast artificial 
reservoir.^ Some account must be given of these 
various buildings and constructions before we can 
appreciate fully Nebuchadnezzar's greatness as a 

The " old palace " seems to be represented by the 
modern *' mound of Amram." This is a huge mass 
of ruins, almost triangular in its present shape, occupy- 
ing the more southern portion of the ancient *' royal 
city." It is about a thousand yards along its south- 
western or principal side, which faced the river, and 
has perhaps been washed into its present receding line 
by water action. The northern face of the mound 
measures about seven hundred yards, and the eastern 
about eight hundred, the triangle being thus scalene, 
with its shortest side facing northwards.* The mound 
is deeply furrowed with ravines, worn by the" rains in 

^ Oppeit, " Expedition Scientifiqiie en Mesopotamie," vol. i., Plan of 

2Herod., i. i8i. 

^ See the " Standard Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar" in the author's 
" Herodotus," vol. ii., p. 587. 

* See the author's " Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., pp. 525, 526. 


the friable soil ; its elevation above the level of the 
plain is nowhere very considerable, but amounts in 
places to about fifty or sixty feet.^ Excavators have 
driven galleries into it in various directions, but have 
found little to reward their labours ; no walls or dis- 
tinct traces of buildings of any kind have presented 
themselves. A few bricks, belonging to early kings 
of Babylon, are all that it has yielded, — enough, 
perhaps, to confirm the conjecture that it represents 
the site of the " old palace," but otherwise uninterest- 
ing. The huge mass seems to be, in reality, less a 
palace than a palace mound — the basis or substratum 
on which once stood a royal edifice, which has now 
wholly disappeared. It was no doubt purely artificial; 
but whether originally constructed of unbaked bricks, 
or merely of the natural soil of the country, may be 
doubted. At present it consists wholly of a soft and 
friable mould, interspersed with a few fragments of 
bricks. The mound covers a space of about thirty- 
seven acres.^ 

If the " mound of Amram " represents the " old 
palace " of the Babylonian kings, the " new palace," 
which adjoined it,^ can scarcely fail to be correctly 
■identified with the " great mound " which immediately 
succeeds the Amram mound towards the north, and, 
according to some writers, is connected with it by a 
broad causeway.* The name Kasr, or "palace," still 

1 Rich, " Memoir on the Ruins of Babylon," p. 61. 
' Oppert, "Expedition Scientifique," vol. i., p. 157. 
3 Beiosus, ap. Joseph., "Ant. Jud." x. 11, ^ i. * Rich, p.'62. 


attaches to this mass of ruins. The " Kasr mound " is an 
oblong square, about seven hundred yards long by six 
hundred broad, with the sides facing the cardinal 
points.^ Like the Amram hill, it is wholly of artificial 
origin, but is composed of somewhat better material, as 
loose bricks, tiles, and fragments of stone. It contains 
at least one subterranean passage, which is seven feet 
high, floored and walled with baked bricks, and roofed 
over with great blocks of sandstone, which reach from 
side to side. This passage may have been either a 
secret exit or a gigantic drain — more probably the 
latter. On the summit of the mound (which is seventy 
feet above the level of the plain), not very far from the 
centre, are the remains of the palace proper, from 
which the mound is named. This is a building of 
excellent brick masonry, in a wonderful state of 
preservation, consisting of walls, piers, and buttresses, 
and in places ornamented with pilasters, but of too 
fragmentary a character to furnish the modern inquirer 
with any clue to the original plan of the edifice. Pro- 
bably it did not greatly differ from the palaces of 
the Assyrian monarchs at Nimrud, Koyunjik, and 
Khorsabad, consisting, like them, of a series of courts, 
great halls, galleries, and smaller apartments, orna- 
mented throughout with sculptured or painted figures, 
and with inscriptions in places. Fragments of the 
ornamentation have been found. One of these is a 
portion of a slab of stone, representing a frieze, where 
the abacus was supported by a series of figures of 

1 "Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 524. 


gods, sculptured in low relief, with their names attached 
to them.^ The remainder are, for the most part, frag- 
ments of bricks, one side of which was painted in 
brig-ht colours, and covered with a thick enamel or 
glaze. " The principal colours are a brilliant blue, red, 
a deep yellow, white, and black." ^ Portions of the 
figures of men and animals have been detected upon 
these fragments, which are so numerous as fully to 
bear out the statement of Diodorus,^ that the palace 
walls were artistically adorned with coloured repre- 
sentations of war scenes and hunting scenes, wherein 
the kings, and sometimes the queens, were depicted 
on horseback or on foot, contending with leopards or 
with lions, and with spear or javelin dealing them 
their death stroke. Such were the " men portrayed 
upon the wall," which the Jewish captives saw at 
Babylon, and on which they doted ; " the images of 
the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion, girded with 
girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon 
their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the 
manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of 
their nativity" (Ezek. xxiii. 14, 15). The palace is 
said to have been further ornamented with statues;^ 
and the figure of a colossal lion, which stands upon 
the mound, north-east of the Kasr building, may lend 
a certain support to this statement. 

The " hanging gardens " were regarded as one of 

*" Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 552. 
^Layard, "Nineveh and Babylon," p. 507. 

3 Diod. Sic, ii. 8. * Ibid. 



the seven wonders of the world.^ They were said to 
have been constructed for the delectation of a Median 
princess, who disUked the flat monotony of the Baby- 
lonian plain, and longed for something that might 
remind her of the irregularities of nature in her own 
country.^ The construction is described in terms 
which are somewhat difficult to understand ; but, by 
comparing the several accounts,^ we gather that the 
structure was a square, 400 feet each way, elevated to 
the height of at least 150 feet, and consisting of sev- 
eral tiers of arches, superimposed one upon another, 
after the manner employed by the Romans in the con- 
struction of their amphitheatres. The building was 
divided into as many stories as there were tiers of 
arches, the number of these being uncertain, and was 
supported by internal walls of great thickness. In 
these stories were many palatial apartments, where 
visitors rested on their way to the upper terrace ; and 
in the uppermost story was a room containing 
hydraulic machinery, whereby water was raised from 
the Euphrates to the level of the garden itself This 
was superimposed on the uppermost tier of arches, and 
was a flat surface composed of four layers ; first, one 
of reeds mixed with bitumen ; next, one of brickwork, 
then one of lead, and finally a thick layer of earth, 
affording ample depth for the roots of the largest trees. 
The garden was planted with trees and shrubs of 

1 Abydenus, Fr. 9, ad fin.\ Strab., xvi. i, | 5. ^ Berosus, Fr. 14, 
3 Those of Diod. Sic. (ii. 10), Strabo (xvi. i, I 5), and Q. Curtius 
(V. I). 


various kinds, and possibly with flowers, though they 
are not mentioned. A spacious pleasure-ground was 
thus provided as an adjunct to the palace, where roy- 
alty was secure from observation, and where the 
dehghts of umbrageous foliage, flashing fountains, gay 
flower-beds, and secluded walks could be obtained at 
the cost of mounting a staircase somewhat longer than 
those of our great London and Paris hotels. 

The great temple of Bel-Merodach is probably iden- 
tified with the massive ruin which lies due north of 
the Kasr mound, at the distance of about a mile. 
This is a vast pile of brickwork, of an irregular quad- 
rilateral shape, with precipitous sides furrowed by 
ravines, and with a nearly flat top.^ Of the four faces 
of the ruin, the southern seems to be the most perfect. 
It extends a distance of two hundred yards, or almost 
exactly a stade, and runs nearly in a straight line from 
east to west. At its eastern extremity it forms a right 
angle with the east face, which runs nearly due north 
for about one hundred and eighty yards, also almost 
in a straight line. The other two faces are very much 
worn away, but probably in their original condition 
corresponded to those already described. The building 
was thus not an exact square, but a parallelogram, with 
the shorter sides proportioned to the longer as nine 
to ten. The ruin rises towards its centre, where it 
attains an elevation of nearly one hundred and forty 
feet. It shows signs of having been enclosed within 
a precinct. Beyond a doubt, it is the edifice which 

iSee "Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., pp. 521-523. 


Herodotus describes as follows : — " In the other 
division of the town was the sacred precinct of Jupiter 
Belus, a square enclosure two stades each way, with 
gates of solid brass ; which was also remaining in my 
time. In the middle of the precinct there was a tower 
of solid masonry, a stade both in length and in 
breadth, upon which was raised a second tower, and 
upon that a third, and so on up to eight. The ascent 
to the top is on the outside, by a path which winds 
round all the towers. When one is about half-way 
up, one finds a resting-place and seats, where persons 
are wont to sit some time on their way to the summit. 
On the topmost tower there is a spacious temple, and 
inside the temple stands a couch of unusual size, 
richly adorned, with a golden table by its side. The 
temple contains no image." ' Herodotus adds : 
" Below, in the same precinct, there is a second temple, 
in which is a sitting figure of Jupiter, all of gold. 
Before the figure stands a large golden table ; and the 
throne whereon it sits, and the base on which the 
throne is placed, are likewise of gold. The Chaldeans 
told me that all the gold together was eight hundred 
talents in weight. Outside this temple are two altars, 
one of solid gold, on which it is only lawful to offer 
sucklings ; the other a common altar, but of great size, 
on which the full-grown animals are sacrificed."' ^ The 
lower temple has disappeared, as have the altars and the 
upper stages of the Great Temple tower ; but the massive 
basis remains, a solid piece of brickwork containing 
1 Herod., i. i8i. ^jbid., i. 183. 


about four millions of square feet, and requiring for its 
construction at least twelve millions of the largest bricks 
made by the Babylonians. If the upper stages at all 
resembled those of the Great Temple of Borsippa, the 
bricks needed for the entire building must have been 
three times as many. 

The artificial reservoir attached to the new palace is 
often mentioned in the inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar.^ 
It was called the Yapiir-SJiapu, and was probably of an 
oblong-square shape, with sides protected by a massive 
facing of burnt brick. If we accept the identification 
of its site suggested by Sir H. Rawlinson,^ we must 
assign it a width of about a hundred yards, and a 
length of nearly a mile. 

Among the other marvels of Babylon, according to 
the ancient writers, were a tunnel and a bridge.. The 
tunnel was carried under the bed of the Euphrates, 
and was an arched passage, lined throughout with 
baked brick laid in bitumen, the lining having a thick- 
ness of twenty bricks. The width of the tunnel was 
fifteen feet, and its height, to the spring of the arch, 
twelve feet.^ The length was about a thousand yards, 
or considerably more than half a mile. 

The bridge was a structure composed of wood, 
metal, and stone. In the bed of the Euphrates were 
built a number of strong stone piers, at the distance 
of twelve feet apart, which presented to the current a 

1" Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 125, 126, 130, etc. 
2 See the author's *' Herodotus," vol. iii., p. 580. 
^Diod. Sic, ii. 9. 


sharp angle that passed gradually into a gentle curve. 
The stones were massive, and fastened together by 
clamps of iron and lead.^ From pier to pier was 
stretched a platform of wood, composed of cedar and 
cypress beams, together with the stems of palms, each 
platform being thirty feet in width.^ The length of 
the bridge, like that of the tunnel, was a thousand 
yards. ^ 

We have now to consider to what extent these 
various constructions may be regarded as the work of 
Nebuchadnezzar, and how far therefore he may be 
viewed as justified in his famous boast. First, then, 
we have it distinctly stated, both by Berosus ^ and by 
himself,^ that the new palace, which adjoined the old, 
was completely and entirely built by him. The same 
is declared, both by Berosus ^ and Abydenus,^ of the 
"hanging gardens." The former of these statements is 
confirmed by the fact that the bricks of the Kasr are, 
one and all of them, stamped with his name. The 
old palace he did not build ; but, as he tells us, care- 
fully repaired.^ The Yapitr-Sliapu was also an ancient 
construction; but he seems to have excavated it afresh, 
and to have executed the entire lining of its banks.^ 
With respect to the great Temple of Bel-Merodach, if 
we may believe his own account, it had gone com- 

1 Herod., i. 1 86. ^ djo^., Sic, ii. 8. ^ jbij^ 

*Ap. Joseph., "Ant. Jud.," x. ii, § I. 

^" Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 130, 131. 

^Berosus, 1. s. c. '^ Abydenus, Fr. 9, stib JiJt. 

^Sir H. Rawlinson in the author's " Herodotus," vol. ii., p. 588. 

nbid., p. 587. 


pletely to ruin before his day, and required a restoration 
that was equivalent to a rebuilding.^ Here, again, we 
have the confirmation of actual fact, since the inscribed 
bricks from the Babil mound bear in every instance 
the name and titles of Nebuchadnezzar. Eight other 
Babylonian temples are also declared in his inscriptions 
to have been built or rebuilt by him.^ But his greatest 
work was the reconstruction of the walls. We have 
seen their enormous length, breadth, and thickness, even 
according to the lowest estimates. Nebuchadnezzar 
found them dismantled and decayed — probably mere 
lines of earthen rampart, such as enclose great part of 
the ruins to-day. He gave them the dimensions that 
they attained — dimensions that made them one of the 
world's wonders. It is this which is his great boast 
in his standard inscription : *' Imgar-Bel and Nimiti- 
Bel, the great double wall of Babylon, I built. 
Buttresses for the embankment of its ditch I completed. 
Two long embankments with cement and brick I made, 
and with the embankment which my father had made 
I joined them. I strengthened the city. Across the 
river, westward, I built the wall of Babylon with 
brick." ^ And again, "The walls of the fortress of 
Babylon, its defence in war, I raised ; and the circuit 
of the city of Babylon I have strengthened skillfully."^ 
Nebuchadnezzar, it may be further remarked, did 
not confine his constructive efforts to Babylon. Aby- 

1 " Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 119. 2 j^jj^ pp ^^2, 123. 

^Ibid., p. 125. Compare the author's "Herodotus," vol. ii., p. 587. 
*" Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 133, 134. 


denus tells us, that, besides his great works at the 
capital, he excavated two large canals, the Nahr-Agane 
and the Nahr-Malcha ; ^ the latter of which is known 
from later writers to have been a broad and deep 
channel connecting the Tigris with the Euphrates. 
He also, according to Abydenus, dug a huge reservoir 
near Sippara, which was one hundred and forty miles 
in circumference, and one hundred and eighty feet 
deep, furnishing it with flood-gates, through which 
the water could be drawn off for purposes of irri- 
gation, Abydenus adds, that he built quays and 
break-waters along the shores of the Persian Gulf, 
and at the same time founded the city of Teredon, 
on the sea coast, as a defence against the incursions 
of the Arabs. 

The inscribed bricks of this great monarch show a still 
more inexhaustible activity. They indicate him as the 
complete restorer of the temple of Nebo at Borsippa,^ 
the mightiest of all the ruins in Mesopotamia, by some 
identified with the biblical " tower of Babel." They 
are widely spread over the entire country, occurring at 
Sippara, at Cutha, at Kal-wadha (Chilmad ?), in the 
vicinity of Baghdad, and at scores of other sites. It is a 
calculation of Sir Henry Rawlinson's, that nine-tenths 
of the bricks brought from Mesopotamia are inscribed 
with the name of Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabo- 
polassar. " At least a hundred sites," says the same 
writer, " in the tract immediately about Babylon, give 

^ Abydenus, 1. s. c. 

2 Compare his inscription, " Records of the Past," vol. vii., pp. 75-78. 


evidence, by bricks bearing his legend, of the marvellous 
activity and energy of this king." ^ 

His inscriptions add, that, besides the great temple 
of Nebo, or of the Seven Spheres, at Borsippa, he 
built there at least five others,^ together with a temple 
to the Moon-god at Beth-Ziba,^ and one to the Sun- 
god at Larsa, or Senkareh."* Altogether there is 
reason to believe that he was one of the most indefati- 
gable of all the builders that have left their mark upon 
the world in which we live. He covered Babylonia with 
great works. He was the Augustus of Babylon. He 
found it a perishing city of unbaked clay ; he left it 
one of durable burnt brick, unless it had been for 
human violence, capable of continuing, as the fragment 
of the Kasr has continued, to the present day. 

1 "Commentary on the Inscriptions of Babylonia and Assyria," p. 76. 
'"Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 123. 

'Ibid,, p. 124. *Ibid., vol. vii., pp. 71, 72. 




The Books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel contain numerous 
allusions, some prophetic, others historic, to the wars 
in which Nebuchadnezzar was engaged, or was to be 
engaged. A certain number of these notices refer to 
wars, which are also mentioned in Chronicles or 
Kings, and which have consequently already engaged 
our attention.^ But others touch upon campaigns 
which Kings and Chronicles ignore, either on account 
of their lying outside the geographic range of the 
writer's vision, or from their being subsequent in point 
of time to the event which they view as constituting 
the close of their narratives. The campaigns in 
question are especially those against Tyre and Egypt, 
which are touched by both writers, but most emphat- 
ically dwelt upon by Ezekiel. 

I. The war against Tyre. Ezekiel's description of 
this war is as follows : — 

'* Thus saith the Lord God ; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebu- 
chadrezzar, king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with 
horses and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much 

^ See above, ch. iii. 


people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field ; and 
he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift 
up the buckler against thee. And he shall set engines of war against 
thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason 
of the abundance of his horses, their dust shall cover thee ; thy walls 
shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the 
chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city 
wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread 
down all thy streets : he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy 
strong ganisons shall go down to the ground. And they shall make a 
spoil of thy riches and make a prey of thy merchandise ; and they shall 
break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses ; and they shall 
lay thy stones, and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. 
And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease ; and the sound of thy 
harjD shall be no more heard. And I will make thee like the top of a 
rock ; thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon ; thou shalt be built no 
more, for I, the L'ord, have spoken it, saith the Lord God." — Ezek. xxvi. 

It is evident, from the entire character of the descrip- 
tion, that the city attacked is — mainly, at any rate — 
not the island Tyre, but the ancient city upon the 
continent, Palaetyrus, as the Greeks called it, which 
occupied a position directly opposite to the island, 
upon the sea-shore. Nebuchadrezzar, as he is correctly 
named,^ fully established in his empire, not merely a 
" king of Babylon," but a " king of kings," comes with 
such an army as Polyhistor described him as bringing 
against Judaea,^ to attack the Phoenician town. He 
brings " horses and chariots, and horsemen and com- 
panies, and much people." Polyhistor gives him, on 

* Nebuchadrezzar exactly corresponds to the Nabu-kudurri-uzur of 
the inscriptions. 

2 Alex. Polyhist., Fr. 24. 


the former occasion, ten thousand chariots, one 
hundred and twenty thousand horsemen, and one 
hundred and eighty thousand footmen. He proceeds 
to invest the city after the fashion commonly adopted 
by the Assyrian monarchs, and inherited from them 
by the Babylonians. Having constructed a movable 
fort or tower, such as we see in the Assyrian bas- 
reliefs,^ he brings it against the walls, while at the same 
time he " raises a mount " against them, from which to 
work his engines and shoot his arrows with the better 
effect.^ His men " lift up the buckler," as the Assy- 
rians do while they mine the walls or fire the gates ; 
while his '* engines " ply their strokes, and his bravest 
soldiers, "with axes," or rather " swords" — often used 
by the Assyrians for the purpose^ — seek to "break 
down the towers." His efforts are successful, and a 
breach is made; the horsemen and chariots, as well as 
the footmen, enter the town ; there is the usual carnage 
and plundering that accompany the storming of a 
stronghold ; and, finally, there is a destruction or dis- 
mantling of the place, more or less complete. 

It is remarkable that the siege and capture of the 
island city obtain no distinct mention. Some have 
supposed that it was not taken ; but this is scarcely 
compatible with the words of the " Lament for Tyre," 
or with the " isles shaking at the sound of her fall " 
(Ezek. xxvi. 15, 18). Probably the two cities were so 
bound together that the conquest of the one involved 

^ "Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., p. 471. 

2 Ibid., p. 473. nbid. 


the surrender of the other, and Nebuchadnezzar, 
master of the Old Tyre, experienced no resistance 
from the New. 

The annaHsts of Tyre, though httle disposed to 
dwell upon a passage of history so painful to patriotic 
men, were forced to admit the fact of the siege by 
Nebuchadnezzar, and even to give some account of it. 
They stated that it took place in the reign of a certain 
Ithobalus (Eth-Baal), and that the Tyrians offered a 
resistance almost without a parallel. They were 
besieged continuously for thirteen years.^ The brief 
extracts from their works, which are all that we possess 
of them, do not say whether the siege was successful 
or the contrary ; but it is scarcely conceivable that the 
great monarch would have allowed his efforts to be 
baffled, and it is certain that he carried a large number 
of Phoenician captives to Babylonia, whom he settled 
in various parts of the country.^ 

The fact of Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Tyre having 
lasted thirteen years, throws considerable light on 
another passage of Ezekiel. In the twenty-seventh 
year of the captivity of Jehoiachin (b.c. 573), the word 
of the Lord came to Ezekiel, saying : — 

" Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, caused his army to 
serve a great service against Tyrus ; eve)y head was made bald, and 
every shoulder was peeled; yet had he no wages, nor his army, for 
Tyms, for the service that he had served against it. Therefore thus saith 

iMenand. Ephes. ap. Joseph. Contr. Ap. i. 21 ; Philostrat. ap. Joseph. 
Ant.Jud., X. II, § I. 

^Berosus ap. Joseph, Ant. Jiid., 1. s. c. 


the Lord God : Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchad- 
rezzar, king of Babylon j and he shall take her multitude, and take her 
spoil, and take her prey ; and it shall be the wages for his army. I 
have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served 
against it, because they wrought for Me, saith the Lord God." — Ezek. 
xxix. 18-20. 

The extraordinary length of the siege, in which men 
grew old and wore themselves out, explains the 
phrase, — '* Every head was made bald, and every 
shoulder was peeled ; " and at the same time accounts 
for the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was considered to 
have received no wages, i.e., no sufficient wages, for his 
service, which had been very inadequately repaid by 
the plunder found in the exhausted city. 

11. A great campaign in Egypt. In the year of the 
destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah prophesied as fol- 
lows : — 

" Then came the Word of the Lord unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, 
saying. Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the 
brick-kiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes, in 
the sight of the men of Judah ; and say unto them. Thus saith the Lord 
of hosts, the God of Israel : Behold, I will send and take Nebuchad- 
rezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon 
these stones that I have hid, and he shall spread his royal pavilion over 
them. And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and 
deliver such as are for death to death ; and such as are for captivity to 
captivity ; and such as are for the sword to the sword. And I will 
kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and he shall 'burn them, 
and carry them away captives : and he shall array himself with the land 
of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment ; and he shall go forth 
from thence in peace. He shall break also the images of Beth-shemesh, 
that is in the land of Egypt ; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians 
shall he burn with fire." — ^Jer. xliii. 8-13. 


Some time afterwards he delivered another prophecy 
(xlvi. 13-26) equally explicit, in which Migdol, Noph 
(Memphis), Tahpanhes (Daphnae), and No-Ammon 
(Thebes) were threatened; and the delivery of the 
entire country and people into the hand of Nebuchad- 
rezzar, king of Babylon, and into the hand of his 
servants, was foretold. 

Ezekiel delivered seven prophecies against Egypt, 
all of them having more or less reference to Babylon 
as the power which was to bring ruin upon the country, 
and two of them mentioning Nebuchadrezzar by name, 
as the monarch who was to inflict the chastisement 
(Ezek. xxix. 18, 19; xxx. 10). These prophecies are 
too long to quote in full. They are chiefly remarkable 
as declaring the complete desolation of Egypt, and as 
fixing a term of years during which her degradation 
should continue. In chap. xxx. we find among the 
places which are to suffer, Sin or Pelusium, Zoan or 
Tanis, On or Heliopolis, Noph or Memphis, Tahpanhes 
or Daphnae, Pibeseth or Bubastis, and No-Ammon or 
Thebes. In chap. xxix. an even wider area is included. 
There we are told that the land of Egypt was to be 
" utterly waste and desolate from Migdol to Syene,^ 
even unto the border of Ethiopia" (ver. 10). The 
time of Egypt's affliction is fixed at " forty years " 
(vers. 11-13), after which it is to recover, but to be a 
'' base kingdom," " the basest of the kingdoms " (ver. 

^ There is no doubt that this is the proper rendering. " From the 
tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia" would have no 
meaning, since Syene bordered on Ethiopia. 


15), no more "exalted above the nations," no more a 
ruler over nations external to itself. 

By the date of one of Ezekiel's prophecies (chap. 
xxix. 17-20), which is B.C. 573, it is evident that the 
great invasion prophesied had not then taken place, 
but was still impending. Nebuchadnezzar's attack 
must consequently be looked for towards the latter 
part of his long reign, which terminated in B.C. 562, 
according to the Canon of Ptolemy. 

Until recently it would have been impossible to 
adduce any historical confirmation, or indeed illustra- 
tion, of these prophecies. They were quoted by 
sceptical writers as prophecies that had been unfulfilled. 
Herodotus, it was remarked, knew nothing of any 
invasion of Egypt by the Asiatics during the reigns of 
either Apries or Amasis, with whom Nebuchadnezzar 
was contemporary, much less of any complete devasta- 
tion of the entire territoiy by them. It was true that 
Josephus, anxious to save the reputation of his sacred 
books, spoke of an invasion of Egypt by Nebuchad- 
nezzar later than the destruction of Jerusalem, and 
even made him kill one king and set up another.^ 
But he placed these events in the fifth year after the 
fall of Jerusalem, that is in B.C. 581, whereas Eze- 
kiel's date, in his twenty-ninth chapter, showed that 
they had not happened by B.C. 573. Moreover, he 
contradicted Egyptian history, which gave no change 
of sovereign till ten years after the time mentioned, 
or B.C. 571. 

i"Ant. Jud." X. 9, § 7. 


It was difficult to meet these objectors formerly. 
Within the last few years, however, light has been 
thrown on the subject from two inscriptions — one 
Egyptian, which had been long known, but not rightly 
understood ; the other Babylonian, which was not 
discovered till 1878. The Egyptian inscription is on 
a statue in the Louvre, which was originally set up at 
Elephantine by a certain Nes-Hor, an official of high 
rank whom Apries, the Egyptian monarch called in 
Scripture '* Pharaoh-Hophra, " had made "Governor 
of the south." This officer, according to the latest 
and best interpretation of his inscription,^ writes as 
follows : — '* I have caused to be made ready my statue ; 
my name will be perpetuated by means of it ; it will 
not perish in this temple, inasmuch as I took care of 
the house, when it was injured by the foreign hordes 
of the Syrians, the people of the north, the Asiatics, 
and the profane [who intended evil] in their heart ; for 
it lay in their heart to rise up, to bring into subjection 
the upper country. But the fear of thy majesty was 
upon them ; they gave up what their heart had 
planned. I did not let them advance to Konosso, but 
I let them approach the place where thy majesty was. 
Then thy majesty made an [expedition] against them." 

It results from this inscription, that, while Apries 
was still upon the throne, there was an invasion of 
Egypt from the north. A host of Asiatics, whom the 
writer calls Amii, i.e. Syrians, or, at any rate, Semites 

^ See Dr. Wiedemann's paper in the " Zeitschrift fiir ^gypt. Sprache " 
for 1878, p. 4. 


from the direction of Syria, poured into the country, 
and, carrying all before them, advanced up the valley 
of the Nile, threatening the subjection of the '* upper 
country." Memphis and Thebes must have fallen, 
since the invaders reached Elephantine. Apparently 
they were bent on subduing, not only Egypt, but 
Ethiopia. But Nes-Hor checked their advance, he 
prevented them from proceeding further, he even 
forced them to fall back towards the north, and brought 
them into contact with an army which Apries had 
collected against them. The result of the contact is 
not mentioned; but the invaders must have retired, 
since Nes-Hor is able to embellish and repair the great 
temple of Kneph, which they have injured, and to set 
up his statue in it. 

The other inscription is, unfortunately, very frag- 
mentary. The tablet on which it was written was of 
small size, and allowed space for only thirty — not very 
long — lines. All the lines are more or less mutilated. 
Of the first and second one word only remains ; of the 
twenty-fifth and twenty-eighth, only one letter. The 
twenty-ninth is wholly obliterated. The termination 
alone remains of the last seven. Some lacunae occur 
in all the others. Still, the general purport is plain. 
Nebuchadnezzar addresses Merodach, and says, — " My 
enemies thou usedst to destroy ; thou caus'edst my 
heart to rejoice ... in those days thou madest my 
hands to capture ; thou gavest me ^ rest ; . . . thou 
causedst me to construct ; my kingdom thou madest 
to increase. . . . Over them kings thou exaltedst; 


his warriors, his princes, his paths, Hke ... he made 
... to his army he trusted ... he hastened before 
the great gods. [In the] thirty-seventh year of 
Nebuchadnezzar king of the country [of Babylon, 
Nebuchadnezzar] to Egypt to make war went. [His 
army Ama]sis, king of Egypt, collected, and . . . [his 
soldiers] went, they spread abroad. As for me (?) 
.... a remote district, which is in the middle of the 
sea .... many . . . from the midst of the country 
of Egypt .... soldiers, horses, and chariots (?)... 
for his help he assembled and ... he looked before 
him .... to his [army] he trusted and . . . fixed a 

Nebuchadnezzar, evidently, in this inscription, speaks 
of an expedition which he personally conducted into 
Egypt, as late as his thirty-seventh year, which was 
B.C. 568, five years later than the date of Ezekiel's 
dated prophecy. The king, however, against whom 
he made war, was not Apries, whose name in Egyptian 
was Ua-ap-ra, but apparently Amasis, his successor, 
since it ended in -su, probably in -asu? This may seem 
to be an objection against referring the two inscriptions 
to the same events, since Apries was still king when 
that of Nes-Hor was set up. But a reference to 
Egyptian history removes this difficulty. Amasis, it 
appears, ascended the throne in B.C. 571 ; but Apries 

^"Transactions of Society of Biblical Archaeology," vol. vii., pp. 

^ See the inscription in the "Transactions of Bibl. Arch. Soc," vol. 
vii., p. 220, reverse, line i. 


did not die until b. c. 565. For six years the two 
monarchs inhabited the same palace at Sais/ and both 
bore the royal title. An Egyptian monument distinctly 
recognizes the double reign ;^ the expedition of Nebu- 
chadnezzar, being in B.C. 568, exactly falls into this 
interval. It was natural that Nebuchadnezzar should 
mention the active young king, who had the real 
power, and was his actual antagonist ; it was equally 
natural that Nes-Hor, an old employe under Apries, 
should ignore the upstart, and seek to do honour to 
his old master. 

Other wars of Nebuchadnezzar are thought to be 
glanced at in Scripture, as one with Elam,^ to which 
there may be allusion in Jer. xlix. 34-38, and Ezek. 
xxxii. 24 ; one with the Moabites, perhaps in Ezek. 
XXV. 8-1 1 ; and one with Ammon, touched upon in 
Ezek. xxi. 20, 28-32, and xxv: 4-7. Josephus relates 
it as a historical fact, that he reduced both the Moabites 
and the Ammonites to subjection ;^ and there are some 
grounds for thinking that he also made himself master 
of Elam ; but it cannot be said that these events are 
either confirmed or illustrated by profane writers, who 
make no distinct mention of any of his wars, except 
those with the Jews, the Phoenicians, and the Egyptians. 

It was, however, widely recognized in antiquity that 
Nebuchadnezzar was a great general. His exploits 

1 Herod, ii. 169. 

2 Champollion, "Monuments de I'Egypte," vol. iv., p. 443, No. I. 

3 G. Smith, " History of Babylonia," pp. 157, 158. 
* Joseph., "Ant. Jud.," x. 9, g 7. 


were enormously exaggerated, since he was believed 
by some^ to have conquered all North Africa and 
Spain, as well as the country between Armenia and 
the Caspian. But there was a basis of truth under- 
lying the exaggerations. Nebuchadnezzar, at a com- 
paratively early age, defeated Pharaoh-Necho at the 
great battle of Carchemish, conquered Coelesyria, 
and reduced Judaea to vassalage. Somewhat later he 
engaged in the difficult enterprise of capturing Tyre, 
and exhibited a rare spirit of persistence and perse- 
verance in his long siege of that town. His capture 
of Jerusalem, after a siege of eighteen months (2 
Kings XXV. 1-4), was creditable to him, since Samaria, 
a place of far less strength, was not taken by the 
Assyrians until it had been besieged for three years 
(2 Kings xvii. 5). The reduction of Elam, if we may 
ascribe it to him, redounds still more to his honour, 
since the Elamites were a numerous and powerful 
nation, which had contended on almost even terms 
with the Assyrians from the time of Sargon to the 
close of the empire. The judgment of a good gen- 
eral was shown in the subjugation of Moab and 
Ammon, for it is essential to the security of Syria and 
Palestine that the tribes occupying the skirt of the 
great eastern desert shall be controlled and their 
ravages prevented. In Egypt Nebuchadnezzar prob- 
ably met his most powerful adversary, since under 
the rule of the Psammetichi Egypt had recovered 
almost her pristine vigour. Thus in this quarter the 
^ As Megasthenes and Abydenus. 


struggle for supremacy was severe and greatly pro- 
longed. He contended with three successive Egyptian 
kings — Necho, Apries or Hophra, and Amasis. From 
Necho he took the whole tract between Carchemish 
and the Egyptian frontier. Apries feared to meet him, 
and, after a futile demonstration, gave up the interfer- 
ence which he had meditated (Jer. xxxvii. 7). Amasis, 
who had perhaps provoked him by his expedition 
against Cyprus,^ which Nebuchadnezzar would natu- 
rally regard as his, he signally punished by ravaging 
his whole territory, injuring the temples, destroying 
or carrying off the images of the gods, and making 
prisoners of many of the inhabitants. It is possible 
that he did more than this. Egypt's degradation was 
to last for a long term of years.^ It is not unlikely 
that Amasis became the vassal of Nebuchadnezzar, 
and his peaceful reign, and the material prosperity of 
his country,^ were the result of a compact by which 
he acknowledged the suzerainty of Babylon, and 
bowed his head to a foreign yoke. 

1 Herod, ii. 182. 

2 "Forty years" (Ezek. xxix. 11-13); but "forty years," in prophetic 
language, is not to be taken literally. 
3 Herod, ii. 177. 


"A land of traffick ... a city of merchants." — Ezek. xvii. 4. 

This allusion to the commercial character of Babylon 
does not stand alone and unsupported in Scripture. 
Isaiah speaks of the Babylonian "merchants" (Isa. 
xlvii. 15), and describes the Chaldaeans as persons 
"whose cry is in their ships" (chap, xliii. 14). Ezekiel 
mentions Canneh (Calneh), and Chilmad, Babylonian 
towns, among the places that carried on commercial 
dealings with Tyre (Ezek. xxvii. 23). In the Revela- 
tion of St. John the Divine, Babylon is made the type 
of a city, which is represented as eminently commer- 
cial, as dealing in the "merchandise of gold, and 
silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine 
linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine 
wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner 
vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, 
and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, 
and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and 
wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, 
and slaves, and the souls of men" (Rev. xviii. 12, 13). 



The object of the present chapter will be to show 
that the notices of Babylon in profane writers and in 
the inscriptions fully bear out the character thus 
assigned to her, showing that she was the centre of an 
enormous land and sea commerce, which must have 
given occupation to thousands of merchants, and have 
necessitated the employment of numerous ships. 

Nothing is more evident in the Babylonian inscrip- 
tions, and also in those of Assyria which treat of 
Babylonian affairs, than the large amount of curious 
woods, and the quantity of alabaster and other stone, 
which was employed in the great constructions of the 
Babylonians, and which must necessarily have been 
imported from foreign countries. Babylonia being 
entirely alluvial is wholly destitute of stone, and the 
only trees of any size that it produces are the cypress 
and the palm.^ We find the Babylonian monarchs 
employing in their temples and palaces abundant pine 
and cedar trees, together with many other kinds of 
wood, which it is impossible to identify. Mention is 
made of '' Babil-v^ ood,'' '' iimritgaiia-vjood,'' '' uinma- 
ka7ia-\NOo6.,'' "r/-wood," '' ikki-v^ood,'' '' surinan-\NOod,'' 
'' asuhu-wood,'' '' imisritkamia-^NOod',' and '' incsiikan- 
wood."^ Modern exploration has shown that among 
the building materials employed was teak,^ but whether 
any one of these obscure names designates that species 
of timber is uncertain. What seems plain is that all 

1 See the author's "Ancient Monarchies," vol. iii., pp. 36, 38. 

2 "Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 117-1335 ^'ol- ^'^^•■> P- 75- 

3 "Journal of the R. Asiat. Society," vol. xv., p. 264. 


these woods must have been imported. The teak 
must have come either from India, or possibly from 
one of the islands in the Persian Gulf;^ there is 
evidence that the cedars and pines, together with 
the Babil-wood, were imported from Syria, being 
furnished by the forests that clothed the sides 
of Mounts Libanus and Amanus;^ there is no 
evidence with respect to the remainder, but they 
may have been derived from either Armenia, Assyria, 
or Susiana. 

Among the kinds of stone commonly used in build- 
ing which must necessarily have been imported, were 
"alabaster blocks," '' zamat stone," '' durmina-turda 
and kamina-tiirda stone, zamat-Jiati stone, and lapis 
lazuli."^ Xenophon speaks of the importation of 
"millstones" in his own day;^ and, as Babylonia 
could not furnish them, they must always have come 
in from without. Sandstone and basalt, which are 
found in some of the ruins, could have been obtained 
from the adjacent parts of Arabia; but the alabaster, 
which has been also found, and the lapis lazuli, which 
was especially affected for adornment, must have been 
brought from a greater distance. 

Stones of the rarer and more precious kinds were 
also largely imported, to serve either as seals or as 

1 As Heeren thinks, on the strength of a passage of Theophrastus 
("As. Nat.," vol ii., pp. 258, 259). 

2 " Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 119; vol. ix., p. 16; "Transactions 
of Bibl. Arch. Society," vol. vii., p. 154. 

3 "Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 121, 125-127; vol. vii., p. 76, etc, 

*Xen., "Anab.," i. 5, ? 5. 


ornaments of the person. Herodotus tells us that 
" every Babylonian carried a seal ; " ^ and the remains 
tend to confirm his testimony, since Babylonian seals, 
either in the shape of signet rings or of cylinders, 
exist by thousands in European museums, and are 
still found in large numbers by explorers. They are 
chiefly made of onyx, jasper, serpentine, meteoric 
stone, lapis lazuli, and chalcedony, all substances that 
must have been introduced from abroad, since no one 
of them is produced by Babylonia. 

Babylonia must also have imported, or else carried 
off from foreign countries, the whole of its metals. 
Neither gold, nor silver, nor copper, nor tin, nor lead, 
nor iron are among the gifts which Nature has vouch- 
safed to the southern Mesopotamian region. No doubt 
her military successes enabled her to obtain from foreign 
lands, not by exchange but by plunder, considerable 
supplies of these commodities ; but besides this acci- 
dental and irregular mode of acquisition, there must 
have been some normal and unceasing source of 
supply, to prevent disastrous fluctuations, and secure 
a due provision for the constant needs of the country. 
Every implement used in agriculture or in the 
mechanical trades had to be made of bronze,^ the 
materials of which came from afar; copper perhaps 
from Armenia, which still produces it largely, tin from 
Further India, or from Cornwall, through the medium 

* Herod., i. 195. 

2 Iron was not absolutely unknown in ancient Babylonia; but almost 
all the weapons and implements found are of bronze. 



of the Phoenicians.^ Every weapon of war had to be 
supplied similarly; all the gold and silver lavished 
on the doors and walls of temples,^ on images of the 
gods or the dresses in which the images were clothed,^ 
on temple tables, altars, or couches,^ on palace walls 
and roofs,^ on thrones, sceptres, parasols, chariots, and 
the like,^ or on bracelets, armlets, and other articles 
of personal adornment, had to be procured from some 
foreign land and to be conveyed hundreds or thousands 
of miles before the Babylonians could make use of 

Another whole class of commodities which the 
Babylonians are believed to have obtained from foreign 
countries comprises the raw materials for their clothes, 
and for the greater part of their fabrics.^ Babylonia 
was not a country suitable for the rearing of sheep, 
and, if it produced wool at all, produced it only in 
small quantities ; yet the Babylonian wore ordinarily 
two woolen garments,^ and some of their most famous 
fabrics were of the same material. Their other 
clothes were either linen or cotton ; but, so far as is 
known, neither flax nor the cotton plant was cultivated 
by them. 

Spices constituted another class of imports. In 

^ Herod., iii, 115, 

2 "Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 117-120; vol. vii., p. 75. 

^ Ibid., vol. vii., pp. 5, 6. 

* Herod., i. 181, 183 ; Diod. Sic, ii. 9. 

^ " Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 131, 133. 

®Ibid., vol. ix., p. 15. 

^Heeren, "Asiatic Nations," vol. ii., p. 199. ^ Herod., i. 195. 


their religious ceremonies the Babylonians consumed 
frankincense ^ on an enormous scale ; and they 
employed it likewise in purifications.^ They also 
used aromatic reeds in their sacrifices,^ as did the Jews 
who were brought into contact with them.* Whether 
they imported cinnamon fi-om Ceylon or India,^ may 
perhaps be doubted ; but the spices of Arabia were 
certainly in request, and formed the material of a 
regular traffic.^ 

All the wine consumed in Babylonia was imported 
from abroad. Babylonia was too hot, and probably 
also too moist, for the vine, which was not cultivated 
in any part of the country.^ A sort of spirit was 
distilled from dates, which the Greeks called '* palm- 
wine," ^ and this was drunk by the common people. 
But the wealthier classes could be content with nothing 
less than the juice of the grape ;^ and hence there was 
a continuous importation of real wine into the country ,^^ 
where there prevailed a general luxuriousness of living. 
The trade must consequently have been considerable, 
and is not likely to have been confined to a single 
channel. There were several vine-growing countries 
not very remote from Babylon ; and a brisk commerce 
was in all probability carried on with most of them. 

Among other probable imports may be mentioned 

1 Herod., i. 183. 2ibid., i. 198. 

2 "Records of the Past," vol. vii., p. 140. * Jer. vi, 20. 

^ As Heeren supposes ("As. Nat.," vol. ii., p. 240). 
^Strabo, xvi. mo. " Herod., i. 193. 

^Ibid. »Dan. i. 5; v. i. . ^'^ Herod., i. 194. 


ivory and ebony, for the construction of rich furniture, 
pearls for personal adornment, rare woods for walking- 
sticks, dyes, Indian shawls, musical instruments, Phoe- 
nician asses, Indian dogs, and Persian greyhounds. 

Ivory and ebony which were brought to Solomon 
as early as B.C. looo (i Kings x. 22), and which Tyre 
imported from Dedan, on the Persian Gulf, in the time 
of Ezekiel (Ezek. xxvii. 15), can scarcely have been 
unknown to the Babylonians, through whose territory 
the Phoenician trade with Dedan must have passed. 
Pearls, which were worn by the Assyrians,^ and 
supplied to Western Asia generally from the famous 
fisheries of Bahrein and Karrak, in the Persian Gulf,^ 
were doubtless as much appreciated by the Babylo- 
nians as by other Asiatics ; and the pearl merchants 
can scarcely have been permitted to carry their 
precious wares into the interior without leaving a fair 
share of them to the country whereto they must have 
brought them first of all. Rare wood for walking- 
sticks is mentioned as grown in Tylos,^ another island 
in the Gulf, and would naturally be transported to the 
neighbouring country, where walking-sticks were in 
universal use.* The dyes which gave to Babylonian 
fabrics their brilliant hues came probably from India 
or Kashmir, and were furnished by the Indian larva or 
the cochineal insect.^ With their dyes the Indians 

1" Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., p. 559. 
'^ Heeren, " As. Nat.," vol. ii., pp. 235-237. 
^Theophrast., "Hist. Plant.," v. 6. 

* Herod., i. 195. ^ggg Heeren, p. 200. 



would probably send their shawls, an early product of 
Hindoo industry, and one from time immemorial 
highly valued in the East.^ The importation of 
musical instruments may be regarded as proved, if we 
allow any of the names used in Daniel to be derived 
from the Greek, since the Greek name could only 
reach Babylon together with the instrument whereto 
it belonged. Phoenician asses are expressly mentioned, 
as sold by one Babylonian to another, on one of the 
black contract stones found at Babylon,^ as are " grey- 
hounds from the East," which were most probably 
Persian. A large dog, most likely an Indian hound, 
is represented on a tablet brought by Sir H. Rawlinson 
from the same site,^ and the representation is a fairly 
good proof of the importation of the animal portrayed. 
It is impossible for a country to import largely 
unless it also exports largely, either its own products 
or those of other regions. In the long run exports 
and imports must balance each other. Babylonia 
seems to have exported chiefly its own manufactures. 
Large weaving establishments existed in various parts 
of the country ; ^ and fabrics issued from the Baby- 
lonian looms which were highly esteemed by foreign 
nations. The texture was exquisite; the dyes were 
of remarkable brilliancy ; and the workmanship was 
superior. The " Babylonish garment " found among 
the spoils of Jericho when the Israelites entered the 

^See Heeren, p. 209. 2 « Records of the Past," vol. ix., p. 105. 
3 See the author's " Herodotus," vol. i., p. 314. 
* Strab., xvi., p. 1074. 


Holy Land, and coveted by Achan/ is an evidence at 
once of the high esteem in which such fabrics were 
held, and of the distance to which, even thus early, 
they had been exported. Fringed and striped robes 
of seemingly delicate material appear on Babylonian 
cylinders ^ as early as the Proto-Chaldaean period, or 
before b. c. 2000. We cannot fix their material ; but 
perhaps they were of the class called " sindones," 
which appear to have been muslins of extreme fineness, 
and of brilliant hues, and which in later times were set 
apart for royal use.^ 

The carpets of Babylon acquired a peculiar reputa- 
tion.^ Carpets are one of the principal objects of 
luxury in the East, where not only are the floors of 
the reception-rooms in all houses of a superior class 
covered with them, but they even form the coverlets 
of beds, couches, divans, and sofas, and are thus the 
main decoration of apartments. The carpets of Baby- 
lon were made of fine wool, skilfully woven, exquisite 
in their colours, and boasting patterns that gave them 
a character of piquancy and originality. They bore 
representations of griffins and other fabulous animals,^ 
which excited the wonder and admiration of foreigners, 
who did not know whether they beheld mere freaks 
of fancy or portraits of the wonderful beasts of Lower 

Besides their dresses, carpets, and other textile 

^ Josh. vii. 21. 2 u Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., p. 94. 

^Theophrast., "Hist. Plant.," iv. 9. 

* Arrian, " Exp. Alex.," vi. 29. ^ Athen. Deipn., v., p. 197. 


fabrics, it may be suspected that Babylonia exported 
rich furniture. When the Assyrian monarchs invaded 
a foreign territory, and obtained any considerable 
success, they almost universally carried off, on their 
return to their own land, great part of the furniture of 
any royal palace that fell into their hands, as the most 
valued portion of their booty. In their Babylonian 
expeditions alone, however, do they particularize the 
several objects. There we find mention of the golden 
throne, the golden parasol, the golden sceptre, the 
silver chariot," ^ and other articles that cannot be iden- 
tified. There, too, we find that when a foreign prince 
needed persuading in order to make him render assist- 
ance, and a '' propitiatory offering " had to be sent to 
him, '* a throne in silver, a parasol in silver, 2, pasur in 
silver, and a ninnaktu in silver" were the objects sent.^ 
It would only have been going a short step further to 
offer articles so highly appreciated to foreign customers 

It is uncertain whether the Babylonians exported 
grain, or dates, or any of the other produce of the 
palm.^ Enormous quantities of wheat, barley, millet, 
and sesame were raised in their country,'^ while the 
date palm grew so thickly in the lower parts of the 
territory as to form almost a continuous forest.^ The 
natural wealth of the country consisted mainly in the 

' " Records of the Past," vol. ix., p. 15. 2 \\,\^^^ vol. vii., p. 45. 

^ The palm was said to furnish the Babylonians with bread, wine, 
vinegar, honey, groats, string and ropes of all kinds, and a mash for 
cattle (Strab., xvi. I, \ 14). 

* Herod., i. 193. * Amm. Marc, xxiv. 3. 


abundance of these products, and it is scarcely pos- 
sible that use was not made of the overplus beyond the 
wants of the inhabitants to maintain the balance of 
trade, which in so luxurious an empire must always 
have tended to declare itself as^ainst such r^reat con- 
sumers. But ancient writers are rarely interested in 
such matters as trade and commerce, while the prob- 
lems of political economy are wholly unknown to 
them. Hence they unfortunately leave us in the dark 
on numerous points which to us seem of primary 
importance, and force us to attempt to grope our way 
by reasonable conjecture. 

We shall pass now from the consideration of the 
probable objects of traffic between Babylonia and other 
countries to that of the nature of the traffic, and the 
probable or certain direction of its various lines. Now 
the traffic was, beyond all doubt, carried on in part by 
land and in part by sea, the Babylonians not only 
having dealings with their continental neighbours, but 
also carrying on a commerce with islands and countries 
which were reached in ships. 

The land traffic itself was of two kinds. Caravans 
composed of large bodies of merchants, with their 
attendants and followers, proceeded from Babylon in 
various directions across the continent, carrying with 
them, on the backs of camels or asses, the native com- 
modities which they desired to sell, and returning after 
a time with such foreign productions as were needed 
or desired by the Babylonians. Regular routes were 
established which these travelling companies pursued ; 


and it is not unlikely that stations, or caravansarais, 
were provided for their accommodation at intervals.^ 
The mass of the persons composingthe caravans would 
travel on foot; but the richer traders would be mounted 
on camels, or even sometimes on horses. It would be 
necessary to be well armed in order to resist the attacks 
of predatory tribes, or organized bands of robbers;^ 
and the caravans would require to be numerous for 
the same reason. There would be no great difference 
between these ancient companies and the caravans of 
the present day, except to some extent in the commo- 
dities conveyed, and in the absence of any other than 
a commercial motive.^ 

Other traders preferred to convey their goods along 
the courses of the great rivers, which, intersecting 
Mesopotamia either as main streams or tributaries, 
form natural channels of commercial intercourse with 
the neighbouring countries, at any rate, for a con- 
siderable distance. Boats and rafts readily descended 
the Tigris, the Euphrates, and their affluents,^ and 
transported almost without effort the produce of 
Commagene, Armenia, and Media to the lower 
Mesopotamian territory. It was possible by the use 
of sails and by tracking to mount the rivers in certain 
seasons ; and this we know to have been done on the 
Euphrates as high as Thapsacus.^ Water-carriage 

1 See Herod., v. 52, who, however, speaks of Persian times. 

* See Ezra, viii. 22. 

3 The religious motive of pilgrimage to certain shrines swells the size 
of modern caravans. 

* Herod., i. 194. ^Strab., xvi. 4, § 18. 


was especially convenient for the conveyance of heavy 
goods, such as stone for building or for statuary, 
obelisks, and the like. Both the monuments and 
profane writers indicate that it was employed for these 

The principal lines of land traffic seem to have 
been five. One, which may be called the Western, 
was along the course of the Euphrates to about lat. 
34° 30', when it struck across due west to Tadmor, or 
Palmyra, and thence proceeded by way of Damascus 
to Tyre and Sidon. Traces of the employment of 
this route are found in Ezekiel (chap, xxvii. 18, 23, 
24). Along it would be conveyed the whole of the 
Phoenician trade, including the important imports of 
tin, Tyrian purple, musical instruments, asses of supe- 
rior quality, and possibly wine of Helbon, together 
with the exports of rich stuffs, dresses, and embroidery. 

Another kept to the line of the Euphrates through- 
out, and may be called the North-Western route. It 
connected Babylon with Upper Mesopotamia and 
Armenia. Along this was conveyed wine, and prob- 
ably copper; perhaps also other metals. It was a 
route used by Armenian merchants, who descended 
the stream in round boats, made of wicker-work 
covered with skins, and, having sold their wares, broke 
up the boats and returned on foot to their own 
country.^ It was used also by the Babylonian col- 
onists of the Persian Gulf, who mounted the stream 

1 "Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., p. 338; Diod. Sic, ii. II. 

2 Herod., i. 194. 


as far as Thapsacus, and thence carried their goods by 
land in various directions.^ 

The third route was towards the North. It con- 
nected Babylon with Assyria, and probably followed 
mainly the line of the Tigris, which it may have struck 
in the vicinity of the great mart of Opis. The trade 
between the two countries of Babylonia and Assyria 
was, in the flourishing times of the latter country, 
highly valued ; and we find frequent provision made 
for its restoration or continuance in the treaties which 
from time to time were concluded between the two 
powers.^ The alabaster blocks which the Babylonians 
sometimes employed in their buildings came probably 
by this line, and the two countries no doubt inter- 
changed various manufactured products. 

A fourth line of land trade, and one of great import- 
ance, was that towards the North-east, which may be 
called the Medo-Bactrian. This line, after crossing 
Mount Zagros by the way of Holwan and Behistun, was 
directed upon the Median capital of Ecbatana, whence 
it was prolonged, by way of Rhages and the Caspian 
Gates, to Balkh, Herat, and Cabul.^ The lapis lazuli, 
which the Babylonians employed extensively, can only 
have come from Bactria,^ and probably arrived by this 
route, along which may also have travelled much of 
the gold imported into Babylon, many of the gems, 

1 Strab., 1. s. c. 

2 " Records of the Past," vol. iii., pp. 34, 35 ; vol. v., p. 90. 

3 Heeren, "Asiatic Nations," vol. ii., pp. 203, 209-211. 
* Ibid., p. 206. 


the fine wool, the shawls, the Indian dyes, and the 
Indian dogs. 

The fifth line was towards the East and South-east. 
At first it ran nearly due east to Susa, but thence it 
was deflected, and continued on to the south-east, 
through Persepolis, to Kerman (Carmania). Wool 
was probably imported in large quantities by this 
route, together with onyxes fi-om the Choaspes,^ cotton, 
and the "greyhounds of the East."^ 

The sea trade of the Babylonians was primarily 
with the Persian Gulf Here they had an important 
settlement on the southern coast, called Gerrha, which 
had a large land traffic with the interior of Arabia, 
and carried its merchandise to Babylon in ships.^ The 
"ships of Ur" are often mentioned in the early inscrip- 
tions,^ and the latter ones show that numerous vessels 
were always to be found in the ports at the head of 
the gulf, and that the Babylonians readily crossed the 
gulf when occasion required.^ It is uncertain whether 
they adventured themselves beyond its mouth into the 
Indian Ocean; but there is reason to believe that by 
some means or other they obtained Indian commodi- 
ties which would have come most readily by this 
route. The teak found in their buildings, the ivory 
and ebony which they almost certainly used, the cin- 
namon and the cotton, in the large quantities in which 

^Dionys. Perieg., 11, 1073-1077. ^ggg above, p. 100. 

^Strab. xvi. 4, | 18 ; Agathemer, "De Mar. Eiythr.," \ 87. 
* "Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., p. 16, note i. 

^"Records of the Past," vol. i., pp. 40, 43, 73; vol. vii., p. 63; vol. 
ix., p. 60. 


they needed it, can only have come from the peninsula 
of Hindustan, and cannot be supposed to have travelled 
by the circuitous road of Cabul and Bactria. Arabian 
spices were conveyed by the Gerrhaeans in their ships 
to Babylon itself, and the rest of the trade of the 
Gulf was probably chiefly in their hands. Perfumes 
of all kinds, pearls, wood for shipbuilding and walking- 
sticks, cotton, gems, gold, Indian fabrics, flowed into 
the Chaldaean capital from the sea, and were mostly 
brought to it in ships up the Euphrates, and deposited 
on the quays at the merchants' doors, ^schylus calls 
the Babylonians who served in the army of Xerxes 
"navigators of ships." ^ Commercial dealings among 
the dwellers in the city on a most extensive scale are 
disclosed by the Egibi tablets;^ "spice merchants" 
appear among the witnesses to deeds.^ Their own 
records and the accounts of the Greeks are thus in 
the completest agreement with the Prophet when he 
describes Babylon as " a land of traffick ... a city of 

1 "^schyl. Pers,, 11. 52-55. 

2 "Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archgeology," vol, vii., pp. 

3 "Records of the Past," vol, xi,, p, 94. 



" Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, 
and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the 
wine, commanded to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father, 
Nebuchadnezzar, had taken out of the temple which was in Jemsalem ; 
that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might 
drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken 
out of the temple of the house of God that was at Jerusalem ; and the 
king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. 
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, 
of iron, of wood, and of stone." — Dan. v. 1-4. 

The main difficulties connected with the Book of 
Daniel open upon us with the commencement of 
chapter v. A new king- makes his appearance — a king 
unknown to profane historians, and declared by some 
critics to be a purely fictitious personage.^ We have 
to consider at the outset who this Belshazzar can be. 
Does he represent any king known to us under any 
other name in profane history? Can we find a trace of 
him in the inscriptions ? Or is he altogether an obscure 
and mysterious personage, of whose very existence 
we have no trace outside Daniel, and who must there- 

1 See De Wette, « Einleitung in das Alt. Test.," p. 255 a. 



fore always constitute an historical difficulty of no 
small magnitude ? 

Now, in the first place, he is represented as the son 
of Nebuchadnezzar (vers. 2, ii, 13, 18, 22). The only 
son of Nebuchadnezzar of whom we have any mention 
in profane history is Evil-Merodach,^ who succeeded 
his father in B.C. 562, and reigned somewhat less than 
two years, ascending the throne in Tisri of B.C. 562, 
and ceasing to reign in Ab of B.C. 560.^ It has been 
suggested that the Belshazzar of Daniel is this 

The following are the chief objections to this 
theory : — (a) There is no reason to suppose that Evil- 
Merodach ever bore any other name, or was known to 
the Jews under one designation, to the Babylonians 
under another. He appears in the Book of Kings 
under his rightful name of Evil-Merodach (2 Kings 
XXV. 27), and again in the Book of Jeremiah (Jer. lii. 
31). Unless we have distinct evidence of a monarch 
having borne two names, it is to the last degree 
uncritical to presume it. {6) The third year of 
Belshazzar is mentioned in Daniel (ch. viii. i). Evil- 
Merodach is assigned two years only by Ptolemy, 
Berosus, and Abydenus;* the latest date upon his 
tablets is his second year; he actually reigned no more 

^ Mentioned by Berosus, Fr. 14 ; Polyhistor (ap. Euseb., " Chron. 
Can." i. 5), and Abydenus (ap. Euseb. i. lo). He appears in the 
Babylonian dated tablets as Avil-Marduk. 

2 " Transactions of Bib, Arch. Soc," vol. vi., pp. 25, 26. 

^ So Hupfeld and Havernick. 

* Ptol., " Mag. Syntax.," v. 14; Beros., 1. s. c. , Abyden., 1. s. c. 


than a year and ten months, (c) Evil-Merodach was 
put to death by his brother-in-law, Nerighssar, in b. c. 
560. Babylon was at this time under no peril from 
the Medes and Persians, to whom the death of 
Belshazzar appears to be attributed (vers. 28-30). (^) 
The identification of Belshazzar with Evil-Merodach 
involves that of " Darius the Median " (ver. 31) with 
Nerighssar, who was not a Mede, and had a name as 
remote as possible from that of Darius. 

If Belshazzar be not Evil-Merodach, can he be 
Nerighssar? Here the name is not so great a difficulty. 
For, in the first place, the two words have two elements 
in common. Nerighssar is in the Babylonian, Nergal- 
sar-uzur, while Belshazzar is Bel-sar-uzur. Moreover, 
it was not an unknown thing in Babylonia and Assyria 
to substitute in a royal designation the name of one 
god for another.^ But, per contra^ (a) Nergal was a 
god so distinct from Bel, that we can scarcely imagine 
such a substitution as Bel for Nergal having been 
allowable, {b) Neriglissar was the son-in-law, not the 
son, of Nebuchadnezzar, {c) He appears to have died 
peaceably, and to have been succeeded by his son, 
Labasi-Merodach (Labossoracus),^ instead of being 
" slain " suddenly, and succeeded by a Darius. It 
seems therefore impossible that the Belshazzar of 
Daniel can be Neriglissar. 

Is he, then, as Josephus supposed, Nabonidus?^ 
Nabonidus, according to Ptolemy and Berosus, was the 

^ " Transactions of Bib. Arch. Soc," vol. vi., p. 28. 
2 Berosus, 1. s. c. " Joseph., "Ant. Jud.," x. ii, I 2. 



last native king. The Medes and Persians destroyed 
his kingdom, and made him prisoner ; after which, in 
a httle time, he died. On his capture the Medo- 
Persian rule was established, and continued thence- 
forth uninterruptedly except for one or two revolts. 
Here, again, {a) the name is an insuperable difficulty : 
nothing can well be more unlike Belshazzar than Nabu- 
nahid. But, further, (6) Nabu-nahid is distinctly said 
to have been in no way related to Nebuchadnezzar.^ 
[c) Also his mother died in the ninth year of his 
reign,^ eight years before his own capture and decease; 
but it is the mother of Belshazzar probably who comes 
into the banquet house at the time of his feast.^ (d) 
Nabonidus, again, did not die on the night that his 
kingdom passed to the Medes and Persians, as 
Belshazzar did (ver. 30). On the contrary, he survived 
eight months.'* Thus the hypothesis that Belshazzar 
is Nabonidus, though embraced by many,^ is as unten- 
able as the others ; and we have still to seek an answer 
to the question, Who was the Belshazzar of Daniel ? 

A discovery made by Sir. H. Rawlinson in the year 
1854 gave the first clue to what we incline to regard 
as the true answer. On cylinders placed by Nabo- 

1 Abydenus, 1. s. c. 

2 See the "Nabonidus Tablet," in the "Transactions of the Bib. 
Arch. Soc," vol. vii., p. 158. 

3 See " vSpeaker's Commentary" on Dan, v. 10; and compare Pusey's 
<* Daniel," p. 449. 

*This is proved by the " Nabonidus Tablet" (" Transactions, etc.," 
vol. vii., pp. 165-7). 

&As Josephus, Heeren, Clinton, Winer, and others. 


nidus at the corners of the great temple of Ur, he 
mentioned by name '* his eldest son, Bel-sar-uzur," and 
prayed the moon-god to take him under his protection, 
" that his glory might endure." On reading this the 
learned decypherer at once declared it to be his opinion 
that Bel-sar-uzur had been associated in the govern- 
ment by his father, and possessed the kingly power. 
If this were so, it could scarcely be disputed that he 
was Daniel's Belshazzar. Sir. H. Rawlinson's inference 
from the inscription has, however, been denied. Mr. 
Fox Talbot has maintained that the inscription does 
not furnish " the slightest evidence " that Bel-sar-uzur 
was ever regarded as co-regent with his father. " He 
may," he says, " have been a mere child when it was 
written." ^ The controversy turns upon the question, 
What was Oriental practice in this matter? Sir. H. 
Rawlinson holds that Oriental monarchs generally, 
and the Assyrian and Babylonian kings in particular, 
were so jealous of possible rivals in their own family, 
that they did not name even their sons upon public 
documents unless they had associated them. Kudur- 
mabuk mentions his son Rim-agu ; ^ but he has made 
him King of Larsa. Sennacherib mentions Asshur- 
nadin-sum,^ but on the occasion of his elevation to the 
throne of Babylon. Apart from these instances, and 
that of Bel-sar-uzur, there does not seem to be any 
mention made of their sons by name by the monarchs 
of either country. 

*" Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 144. 

2 Ibid., vol. iii., p. 20. ^Ibid., vol. i., p. 40. 


The supposition that Bel-sar-uzur may have been 
** a mere child " when the inscription on which his 
name occurs was set up, is completely negatived by 
the newly-discovered tablet of Nabonidus, which 
shows him to have had a son — and Bel-sar-uzur was 
his "eldest son " — who held the command of his main 
army from his seventh year, B.C. 549, to his eleventh, 
B.C. 545.^ It is a reasonable supposition that the 
prince mentioned upon this tablet was Bel-sar-uzur. 
He is called emphatically " the king's son," and is 
mentioned five times. While Cyrus is threatening 
Babylon both on the north and on the south, Nabo- 
nidus is shown to have remained sluggish and inert 
within the walls of the capital, the true kingly power 
being exercised by " the king's son," who is with the 
army and the officers in Akkad, or northern Babylonia, 
watching Cyrus and protecting Babylon. When the 
advance of the army of Cyrus is finally made, what " the 
king's son " did is not told us. Nabonidus must have 
roused himself from his lethargy and joined his troops ; 
but as soon as he found himself in danger, he fled. 
Pursuit was made, and he was captured — possibly in 
Borsippa, as Berosus related.^ The victorious Persians 
took him with them into Babylon. If at this time 
"the king's son " was still alive, any further resistance 
that was made must, almost certainly, have been made 
by him. Now such resistance was made. A body of 
" rebels," as they are called, threw themselves into Bit- 
Saggatu, or the fortified enclosure within which stood 

^"Transactions," vol. vii., pp. 156-161. ^gg^-Qsi^is^ Yr. 14. 


the Great Temple of Bel-Merodach and the Royal 
Palace, and shutting to the gates, defied the enemy. 
It is true our record says no preparations had been 
made previously for the defence of the place, and 
there was no store of weapons within it. But the 
soldiers would have their own weapons : the temple 
and the palace would probably be well supplied with 
wine and provisions ; the defences would be strong ; 
and the feeling of the defenders may well have been 
such as Herodotus ascribes to the mass of the Baby- 
lonians when they shut themselves within the walls of 
the town.^ Bel-sar-uzur and his lords may have felt 
so secure that they could indulge in feasting and 
revelry. They may have maintained their position for 
months. It is at any rate most remarkable that the 
writer of the tablet, having launched his shaft of 
contempt against the foolish " rebels," interposes a 
break of more than four months between this and the 
next paragraph- It was at the end of Tammuz that 
the " rebels " closed the gates of Bit-Saggatu ; it was 
not till the 3d day of Marchesvan that "Cyrus to 
Babylon descended," and established peace there. It 
may have been on the night of his arrival with strong 
reinforcements that the final attack was made, and that 
Belshazzar, having provoked God by a wanton act of 
impiety, "was slain" (ver. 31). Nearly five months 
later, on the 27th of Adar, " the king (Nabonidus) died." 
It is objected to the view, that the Belshazzar of 
Daniel is Bel-sar-uzur, the eldest son of Nabonidus : — 
1 Herod., i. 190. 


I. That Belshazzar is called repeatedly the son of 
Nebuchadnezzar/ while we have no evidence that Bel- 
sar-uzur was in any way related to that monarch. 2. 
That " the Book of Daniel gives not the least hint of 
Belshazzar as having a father still alive and on the 
throne."^ The first of these objections has been often 
answered.^ In Scripture, it has been observed, " father" 
stands for any male ancestor, " son " for any male 
descendant. Jehoshaphat is called " the son of Nimshi," 
though really his grandson ; Jesus of Nazareth is " the 
son of David," who is " the son of Abraham " (Matt. 
i. i) ; Ezra is " the son of Seraiah " (Ezra vii. i), the 
" chief priest " of the captivity (2 Kings xxv. 1 8), who 
died B.C. 586 (ver. 21), of whom Ezra therefore (b.c. 
460-440) must have been really the grandson or 
great-grandson. Conversely, Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob are the '' fathers " of the Israelites after they 
have been four hundred years in Egypt (Exod. iii. 15, 
16) ; Jonadab, the son of Rechab, the friend of Jehu 
(2 Kings X. 15), is the "father" of the Rechabites, 
contemporary with Jeremiah (Jer. xxxv. 6); and 
Jehoram, king of Judah, is the father of Uzziah (Matt. 
i. 8), his fourth descendant. The rationale of the 
matter is as follows : Neither in Hebrew nor in Chaldee 
is there any word for " grandfather " or " grandson." 
To express the relationship it would be necessary to 
say " father's father " and " son's son." But " father's 

1 Fox Talbot, in " Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 144. 2 ibj^, 
' See the author's " Bampton Lectures," Lecture V., pp. 134, 135, 
and note. 


father " and " son's son " are, by an idiom of the 
language, used with an idea of remoteness — to express 
distant ancestors or descendants. Consequently they 
are rendered by this usage unapt to express the near 
relationship of grandfather and grandson ; and the 
result is that they are very rarely so used. As Dr. 
Pusey has well observed,^ " A single grandfather, or 
forefather, is never called * father's father,' always 
'father' only." This is so alike in early and in late 
Hebrew ; and the Chaldee follows the idiom. Jacob 
says, ** The God of my father, the God of Abraham, 
and the fear of Isaac " (Gen. xxxi. 42). God says to 
Aaron, '* The tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father " 
(Num. xviii. 2). The confession to be made at the 
offering of the first-fruits began, " a Syrian, ready to 
perish, was my father " (Deut. xxvi. 5) ; and in the 
same sense, probably, Moses says, " the God of my 
father" (Exod. xviii. 4). David said to Mephibosheth, 
" I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy 
father's sake, and will restore to thee all the land of 
Saul thy father " (2 Sam. ix. 7). And Asa is said to 
have " removed Maachah, his mother, from being 
queen," though it is said in the same chapter that she 
was the mother of Abijam, his father (i Kings xv. 2, 
1 3). Maachah herself, who is called '' daughter of 
Absalom" (i Kings xv. 2), was really his grand- 
daughter, he having left only one daughter, Tamar (2 
Sam. xiv. 27), and her own father being Uriel (2 Chron. 
xiii. 2). Again it is said, " Asa did right in the eyes 
^ See his " Lectures on Daniel," Lecture VII., pp. 405, 406. 


of the Lord, as did David his father " (i Kings xv. 1 1), 
and in Hke way of Hezekiah (2 Kings xviii. 3). Con- 
trariwise, it is said that " Ahaz did not right Hke David 
his father " (xvi. 2) ; that " Amaziah did right, yet not 
Hke David his father ; he did according to aU things as 
Joash his father did " (xiv. 3). Here, in one verse, the 
actual father and the remote grandfather are aHke 
caUed "his father;" as before the father and grand- 
father of Mephibosheth were caUed, in the same verse, 
"his father." "Josiah," it is said, "walked in the ways 
of David his father ; he began to seek the God of 
David his father" (2 Chron. xxxiv. 2, 3). In Isaiah 
there occur "Jacob thy father" (Isa. Iviii. 14); "thy 
first father " (xliii. 27) — /. c, Adam ; and to Hezekiah 
he said, " Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy 
father " (xxxviii. 5). So, on the other hand, there is 
no Hebrew or Chaldee word to express " grandson." 
In laws, if the relation has to be expressed, the idiom 
is "thy son's daughter" (Lev. xviii. 10), or thy 
" daughter's daughter " (Ibid.) ; or it is said, " Thou 
shalt tell it to thy son's son " (Exod. x. 2) ; " Rule 
thou over us, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son " 
(Judg. viii. 22). The relation can be expressed in this 
way in the abstract, but there is no way in Hebrew or 
Chaldee to mark that one person was the grandson of 
another, except in the way of genealogy — " Jehu, the 
son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi." And so the 
name " son " stands for the " grandson," and a person 
is at times called the son of the more remarkable 
grandfather, the link of the father's name being omitted. 


Thus Jacob asked for " Laban, the son of Nahor " (Gen. 
xxix. 5), omitting the immediate father, Bethuel; Jehu 
is called "the son of Nimshi " (i Kings xix. 16; 2 
Kings ix. 20), omitting his own father, Jehoshaphat. 
The prophet Zechariah is called " the son of Iddo " 
(Ezra V. i ; vi. 14), his own father being Berachiah 
(Zech. i. i). Hence the Rechabites said, as a matter 
of course, " Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our father, 
commanded us ; w^e have obeyed in all things the 
voice of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our father " 
(Jer. XXXV. 6, 8) ; although Jonadab lived some one 
hundred and eighty years before (2 Kings x. 1 5). And 
reciprocally God says, " The words of Jonadab, the 
son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons, are per- 
formed " (ver. 14) ; and " Because ye have obeyed the 
commandments of Jonadab your father, and kept all 
his precepts" (ver. 16). 

But, it is objected, all this may be true; yet it 
proves nothing. Nabonidus zvas not in any ivay 
related to Nebuchadnezzar — he was *' merely a Baby- 
lonian nobleman."^ How, then, should his son be 
even Nebuchadnezzar's grandson ? This, too, has 
been answered,^ and it is curious that the answer 
should be ignored. Belshazzar, it has been observed, 
may have been the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar on 
the mother s side. His father, Nabonidus, may have 
married one of Nebuchadnezzar's daughters. 

It must be granted that we have no proof that he 

^ Fox Talbot, in "Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 144, 

2 See the author's " Bampton Lectures," Lecture V., note 41. 


did. We have, however, some indications from which 
we should naturally have drawn the conclusion inde- 
pendently of the Book of Daniel. Two pretenders to 
the throne of Babylon started up during the reign of 
Darius Hystaspis, both of whom called themselves 
** Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabonidus."^ It is certain 
from this that Nabonidus must have had a son so 
called, for no pretender would assume the name of a 
person who never existed. How, then, are we to 
account for Nabonidus having given this name to one 
of his sons? Usurpers, as a rule, desire not to recall 
the memory of the family which they have dispos- 
sessed. The Sargonidae discarded all the names in 
use among their predecessors. So did the Egyptian 
monarchs of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties. 
So, again, did those of the twenty-first, and the Psam- 
metichi. Nabonidus must have intended to claim a 
family connection with the preceding Babylonian 
monarchs when he thus named a son. And if he was 
indeed "no way related to Nebuchadnezzar," the 
connection could only have been by marriage. The 
probability, therefore, is that the principal wife of 
Nabonidus, the queen (or queen-mother) of Dan. v. 
lo, was a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, and that 
through her Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar's grand- 

But further: it is objected that "the Book of Daniel 
gives not the slightest hint of Belshazzar having a 

^See the "Behistun Inscription," in the author's "Herodotus," vol. 
ii., pp. 596, 606. 


father alive, and still upon the throne."^ In reply it 
may be said, in the first place, that, were it so, no 
surprise need be felt ; since, if the circumstances were 
as above supposed, if Nabonidus after a shameful 
flight was a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, and 
Belshazzar was conducting the defence alone, any 
distinct allusion to the captured king would be 
improbable. But, secondly, it is not true that there is 
"no hint." Belshazzar makes proclamation that, if 
any one can read and interpret the writing miracu- 
lously inscribed upon the wall, " he shall be clothed 
with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, 
and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom" (v. 7); 
and when Daniel has read and interpreted the words, 
the acts promised are performed — "they clothed 
Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his 
neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that 
he should be tJie third rider in the kingdom " (ver. 29). 
It has been suggested that to be the "third ruler" was 
to be one of the three presidents who were subse- 
quently set over the satraps (vi. 2) ; but neither is this 
the plain force of the words, nor was the organization 
of chap. vi. I, 2 as yet existing. To be "the third 
ruler in the kingdom " is to hold a position one 
degree lower than that of " second from the king," 
which was conferred upon Joseph (Gen. xli. 40-44), 
and upon Mordecai (Esth. x. 3) ; it is to hold a posi- 
tion in the kingdom inferior to two persons, and to 
two persons only. That the proclamation ran in this 
1 Fox Talbot, in " Records of the Past," I. s c. 


form is a " hint," and more than a hint, that the first 
and second places were occupied, that there were two 
kings upon the throne, and that therefore the highest 
position that could, under the circumstances, be 
granted to a subject was the third place, the place 
next to the two sovereigns. If we compare the two 
nearly parallel cases of Joseph and Mordecai — subjects 
whom their despotic master " delighted to honour " — 
with that of Daniel at this time, we shall find it 
scarcely possible to assign any other reason for his 
being promoted to the third place in the kingdom than 
the fact that the first and second places were already 
occupied by the son and father, Belshazzar and 



"Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and 
two years old. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred 
and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom." — 
Dan. v. 31 ; vi. i. 

The reign of '* Darius the Median" over Babylon is 
the second great historical difficulty which the Book 
of Daniel presents to the modern inquirer. Accord- 
ing to Herodotus,^ Berosus,^ and the Canon of Ptolemy, 
the immediate successor of Nabonidus (Labynetus) 
was Cyrus — no king intervened between them. The 
Babylonian records are in accord. Two contemporary 
documents*'^ declare that Cyrus defeated Nabonidus, 
captured him, and took the direction of affairs into 
his own hands. One of them contains a proclamation, 
issued by Cyrus, as it would seem, immediately after 
his conquest,^ in which he assumes the recognised 
titles of Babylonian sovereignty, calling himself " the 

1 Herod., i. 188, 191. 2i3ei.osus, Fr. 14. 

^See the "Cylinder Inscription of Cjtus," published in the "Journal 
of the Royal Asiatic Society," vol. xii., pp. 85-9; and "Transactions 
of Bibl. Archoeol. Society," vol. vii., pp. 153-169. 

*"As. Soc. Journ.," vol. xii., p. 87. 



great king, the powerful king, the king of Babylon, 
the king of Sumir and Akkad, the king of the four 
regions." Who, then, it has to be asked, is this 
"Darius the Median," who "took the kingdom," and 
made arrangements for its government, immediately 
after the fall of the native Babylonian power, and its 
suppression by that of the Medes and Persians ? 

All that Scripture tells us of " Darius the Median," 
besides the points already mentioned, is that he was 
the son of Ahasuerus, that he was an actual Mede by 
descent ("of the seed of the Medes," Dan. ix. i), that 
he advanced Daniel to a high dignity (ch. vi. 2), and 
that afterwards he cast Daniel into the den of lions 
and released him. The first and second of these facts 
seem conclusive against a theory which has been of 
late years strongly advocated — viz., that he is really 
"Darius the son of Hystaspis,"^ the great Darius, the 
only Darius mentioned in Scripture, except Codo- 
mannus, whose name occurs in one place (Neh. xii. 22). 
We know not only the father, but the entire descent 
of Darius Hystaspis, up to Achaemenes, the founder 
of the Persian royal family;^ and we find no "Ahasue- 
rus" — the Hebrew form of the Persian KhsJiayarsha, 
the Greek Xerxes — in the list. There is the strongest 
evidence that he was of pure Persian race, and not an 
atom of evidence that he had any Median blood in his 
veins. It is among his proudest boasts that he is " an 

^Particularly by Mr. Bosanquet (" Transactions," etc., vol. vi., pp. 84, 
100, 130). 
2 See the Author's " Herodotus," vol. iv., pp. 254-5. 


Aryan, of Aryan descent, a Persian, the son of a 
Persian."^ He was a member of the Persian royal 
family, closely akin to Cyrus. The Medes revolted 
against him, and fought desperately to throw off his 
authority and place themselves under a real Mede, 
Frawartish, who claimed to be "of the race of 
Cyaxares."^ Cyrus might with better reason be 
called a Mede than Darius, for some high author- 
ities gave Cyrus a Median mother;^ but there is 
no such tradition with respect to Darius, the son of 

Another extraordinary theory, recently broached, 
identifies " Darius the Mede " with Cyrus.* Darius, 
it is said, may be in Daniel, not a name, but a title. 
Etymologically the name would mean " holder," or 
" firm holder," and it may therefore have been a syno- 
nym for king or ruler. Daryavesh Madaya (in Dan. 
v. 31) may mean, not "Darius the Mede," but only 
"the king or ruler of the Medes, a fit title for Cyrus"! 

But how does this conjectural explanation suit the 
other passages of Daniel where the name of Darius 
occurs ? We read in ch. vi. 28, " So this Daniel pros- 
pered in the reign of Darius, a7id in the reign of Cyrus, 
the Persian!' Does this mean, he prospered "in the 
reign of Cyrus, and in the reign of Cyrus " ? Again, we 
read, in ch. ix. I, of " Darius, the son of Ahasuerus." 
How can this apply to Cyrus, who was the son of 

^ See the Author's " Herodotus," vol. iv., p. 250. 
2 Ibid,, vol. ii., pp. 598-602. 
3 Herod., i. 108; Xen. " Cyrop.," i. 2, g i. 
*" Transactions," etc., vol. vi., p. 29. 


Cambyses ? Further, how are we to understand the 
expression " King Darius," which occurs in ch. vi. 6, 
9, 25? Does it mean ** king, king " ? We will not 
insult our readers' intellects by continuing. We will 
only add one less obvious argument, an argument 
which may further our quest, and give us perhaps 
some help in determining, not only who " Darius the 
Median " was not, but who he was. 

It is said, in ch. v. 31, that *' Darius the Median 
took the kingdom," and in ch. ix. i, that he " zvas made 
king over the realm of the Chaldeans." Neither of these 
two expressions is suitable to Cyrus. The word trans- 
lated "took" means '* received," " took from the hands 
of another ; " and the other passage is yet more unmis- 
takable. "Was made king" exactly expresses the 
original, which uses the Hophal of the verb, the 
Hiphel of which occurs when David makes Solomon 
king over Israel (i Chron. xxix. 20). No one v/ould 
say of Alexander the Great, when he conquered 
Darius Codomannus, that he " was made king over 
Persia." The expression implies the reception of a 
kingly position by one man from the hands of another. 
Now Babylon, while under the Assyrians, had been 
almost always governed by viceroys, who received 
their crown from the Assyrian monarchs.^ It was not 
unnatural that Cyrus should follow the same system. 
He had necessarily to appoint a governor, and the 
" Nabonidus Tablet " tells us that he did so almost 
immediately after taking possession of the city. The 

^ "Ancient Monarchies," vol. iii., p. 42. 


first governor appointed was a certain Gobryas/ whose 
nationality is doubtful ; but he appears to have been 
shortly afterwards sent to some other locality.^ A 
different arrangement must have been then made. 
That Cyrus should have appointed a Mede, and 
allowed him to take the title of " king," is in no way 
improbable. He was fond of appointing Medes to 
high office, as we learn from Herodotus.^ He was 
earnestly desirous of conciliating the Babylonians, as 
we find from his cylinder.* It was not many years 
before he gave his son, Cambyses, the full royal power 
at Babylon, relinquishing it himself, as appears from a 
dated tablet.^ The position of " Darius the Median " 
in Daniel is compatible with all that we know with 
any certainty from other sources. We have only to 
suppose that Cyrus, in the interval between the brief 
governorship of Gobryas and the sovereignty of 
Cambyses, placed Babylon under a Median noble 
named Darius, and allowed him a position interme- 
diate between that of a mere ordinary " governor " 
and the full royal authority. 

The position of Darius the Median, as a subject- 
king set up by Cyrus, has been widely accepted ; but 
critics have not been content to rest at this point. 
Attempts have been made to identify him further with 

^ So at least I understand the passage ("Transactions," etc., vol. vii., 
p. 166, 1. 20). 

2 Ibid., p. 167, 1. 22. The reading is uncertain. 
'Herod., i. 156, 162. 

*" Journal of Royal Asiatic Society," vol. xii., pp. 87-9. 
^"Transactions," etc., vol. vi., p. 489. 


some person celebrated in history; and it has been 
suggested that he was either Astyages, the last Median 
monarch/ or his supposed son, Cyaxares.^ Neither 
identification can be substantiated. The very exist- 
ence of a second Cyaxares, the son of Astyages, is 
more than questionable.^ The names are, in both 
cases, unsuitable. The age of Darius when he ''took 
the kingdom" falls short of the probable age of 
Astyages. It seems best to acquiesce in the view of 
those who hold that " Darius the Mede is an historic 
character," but one " whose name has not yet been 
found except in Scripture."^ 

It is in no way surprising that, on being set over 
the realm of the Chaldees, Darius should have occu- 
pied himself in giving it a new organization. We are 
scarcely entitled to assume, from the expression used 
in Dan. vi. i, that he called his new officers "satraps;" 
but still it is quite possible that he used the word, 
which had not yet received a technical sense, and only 
meant etymologically " supporters of the crown." 
The number, one hundred and twenty, is more than 
we should have expected, and can receive no support 
from the hundred and twenty-seven provinces of 
Ahasuerus (Esth. i. i), who ruled from Ethiopia to 
India, whereas Darius reigned only over the realm of 

^ So Syncellus, Jackson, Marsham, and Winer, 
. "^ So Josephus, Prideaux, Hales, Hengstenberg, Von Lengerke, and 

3 Herodotus declares that Astyages had no male offspring (i., 109). 

* "Speaker's Commentary" on Dan. v. 31. 


the Chaldees ; we must view it either as resulting from 
Oriental ostentation, or as an anticipation of the maxim, 
Divide et impera. Each "satrap" must have ruled 
over a comparatively small district. They may have 
been the head men of tribes, and if so, it is pertinent 
to remark that the tribes of the Euphrates valley were 
exceedingly numerous. Twenty-four tribes of Lower 
Babylonia collected on one occasion to assist Susub;^ 
in the middle region Tiglath-Pileser II. claims to have 
reduced thirty- four tribes;^ the upper region had at 
least as many. An ancient geographical list seems to 
divide Babylonia proper into seventy-three districts.^ 
If Cyrus intrusted to Darius the Euphrates valley up 
to Carchemish, and the regions of Coelesyria and 
Phoenicia, we can quite understand the number of the 
"princes" {i.e., satraps) being a hundred and twenty. 

" Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be 
not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which 
altereth not." — Dan. vi. 8. 

"Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That 
no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed." 
— Ver. 15. 

The inviolability of Medo-Persian law, and the moral 
impossibility that the king, having signed a decree, or 
in any way pledged his word to a matter, could after- 
wards retract, or alter it, which are so strongly asserted 
in these passages, and again so markedly implied in 
the Book of Esther, receive illustration from two 

^ " Records of the Past," vol. i., p. 47. 

2 Ibid., vol. v., p. loi. **Ibid., vol. v., pp. 105-7. 



narratives which have come down to us on the 
authority of Herodotus. " Cambyses," he tells us/ 
" the son of Cyrus, was anxious to marry one of his 
sisters ; but, as he knew that it was an uncommon 
thing, and not the custom of the Persians previously, 
he summoned a meeting of the royal judges, and put 
the question to them, whether there was any law 
which allowed a brother, if he wished it, to marry his 
sister? Now the royal judges," he remarks, "are 
certain picked men among the Persians, who hold their 
office for life, or until they are found guilty of some 
misconduct. By them justice is administered in Persia, 
and they are the interpreters of the old laws, all dis- 
puted cases of law being referred to their decision. 
When Cambyses, therefore, put his question to these 
judges, they gave him an answer which was at once 
true and safe — ' the}^ did not find any law,' they said, 
' allowing a brother to take his sister to wife ; but they 
found a law that the king of the Persians might do 
whatever he pleased.' And so they neither warped 
the law through fear of Cambyses, nor ruined them- 
selves by over-stiffly maintaining the law; but they 
brought another quite distinct law to the king's help, 
which allowed him to have his wish. Cambyses, 
therefore, married the object of his love ; and no long 
time afterwards he took to wife also another sister." 
Still more closely illustrative of the perplexity of 
Darius, and his inability to escape from the entangle- 
ment in which he found himself, is the following 
1 Ilerod. hi., 31. 



anecdote concerning Xerxes, one of the most self- 
willed and despotic of all the Persian monarchs : 
"Amestris, the wife of Xerxes, having a cause of 
quarrel, as she thought, against the wife of a Persian 
prince named Masistes, determined to compass her 
death. She waited, therefore, till her husband gave 
the great royal banquet — a feast which took place 
once every year — in celebration of the king's birthday, 
and then made request of Xerxes that he would please 
to give her, as her present, the wife of Masistes. But 
he at first refused ; for it seemed to him shocking and 
monstrous to give into the power of another a woman 
who was not only his brother's wife, but was likewise 
wholly guiltless in the matter which had enraged 
Amestris ; and he was the more unwilling inasmuch 
as he well knew the intention with which his wife had 
preferred her request. After a time, however, he was 
wearied by her importunity, and, /*^£'/z;;^ constrained by 
the lazu of the feast, which required that no one who 
asked a boon that day at the king's board should be 
denied his request, he yielded, but with a very ill will, 
and gave the woman into her power." ^ Amestris, as 
he had expected, caused the woman to be put to 
death, first mutilating her in a most barbarous manner. 
It is indicative of the complete knowledge that the 
writer has of the change which Babylon underwent 
when she passed from the uncontrolled despotism of 
the old native kings to the comparatively limited 
monarchy of Persia that he exhibits to us Nebuchad- 

* Herod., ix. no, in. 


nezzar and Belshazzar as wholly unrestrained by those 
about them, or admitting, at the most, domestic 
counsels, while he represents Darius as trammelled by 
Medo-Persian law, a passive, instrument in the hands 
of his councillors, forced to do an act against which 
his soul revolted, and only venturing upon a vindica- 
tion of his own authority when he had been the witness 
of a stupendous miracle (ch. vi. 14-24). 

" The king spake and said unto Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the 
living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver 
thee from the lions?" — Dan. vi. 20. 

"Then King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, 
that dwell in all the earth : Peace be multiplied unto you, I make a 
decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear 
before the God of Daniel : for He is the living God, and steadfast for 
ever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His 
dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and 
He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and earth, who hath deliv- 
ered Daniel from the power of the lions;" — Dan. vi. 25-27. 

As the Medo-Persic kings introduced some novelty 
into the political situation when they became the rulers 
of Babylon, so they further introduced a more consid- 
erable religious change. The ordinary Babylonian 
system is sufficiently indicated in the account of 
Belshazzar's feast. It was grossly polytheistic and 
idolatrous. It recognised a hierarchy of gods as 
ruling in the heavenly sphere,^ and it worshipped them 
under the form of images ^ in gold, and silver, and 
brass, and iron, and wood, and stone (ch. vi. 4, 23). 

^ "Ancient Monarchies," vol. i., pp. 110-I42; vol. iii., pp. 25-33. 
2 Ibid., vol. iii., p. 28. 



The religion of the Medo-Persians was very different. 
It admitted of no use of images.^ It did not abso- 
lutely reject the employment of the word god in 
the plural ; ^ but it acknowledged one god as infinitely 
superior to all others, and viewed him as alone truly 
" living," as alone the fount and origin of all life, 
whether earthly or spiritual. The Ahura-Mazda of the 
Medes and Persians was a god of a very spiritual and 
exalted character. He had made the celestial bodies, 
earth, water, and trees, all good creatures, and all good, 
true things. He was good, holy, pure, true, the holy 
god, the holiest, the essence of truth, the father of all 
truth, the best being of all, the master of purity. He 
was supremely happy, possessing every blessing — 
health, wealth, virtue, wisdom, immortality.^ 

These facts, which are known to us especially 
through the Zendavesta, the sacred book of the ancient 
Medes and Persians, throw considerable light on the 
picture drawn of the religion of the Babylonian court 
under Darius the Mede, compared with that of the 
same court almost immediately before, under Belshaz- 
zar. Belshazzar allowed that " the spirit of the holy 
gods'' might be in Daniel, and that therefore his words 
might be deserving of attention. He praised "the 
gods," and recognised the duty of worshipping them 
as embodied in their images of wood and stone and 
metal. In the account given of Darius the Mede, 

1 Herod., i. 131. 

2 See Pusey's "Lectures on Daniel," pp. 529-539. 

2 "Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., pp. 324-5. 


idolatry has, on the other hand, no place. Polytheism 
of a kind just makes its appearance in the expression, 
" Whosoever shall ask a petition oi any god'' (ch. vi. 7, 
12); but monotheism is predominant. Darius, before 
knowing if a miracle has been performed or no, recog- 
nises Daniel as a " servant oi the living God'' (ver. 20); 
and afterwards, when assured of Daniel's deliverance, 
praises and exalts *' the living God " as one " who is 
steadfast for ever and ever," whose " kingdom shall 
not be destroyed," but shall continue " even unto the 
end ; " '* who delivereth and rescueth," and " worketh 
signs and wonders in heaven and earth" (vers. 26, 27). 
These words, which would seem strange in the mouth 
of most heathens, are natural enough in those of a 
Zoroastrian, who, while allowing a certain qualified 
worship of the sun, and of the gods presiding over 
his own family,^ would recognise as infinitely above 
these, placed in a category apart and by himself, the 
great giver of life, Ahura-Mazda, the true " living 
God," the Creator, the Preserver, the Deliverer from 
evil, the Supreme Spirit, to whom all others were 
subordinate, the one and only ruler of heaven and 

It does not interfere with this view that Cyrus, and 
as his vice-gerent, Darius, tolerated — nay, even patron- 
ized to some extent — the Babylonian religion.^ This 
they did as politic rulers over subjects likely to be 

^ " Behist. Inscript.," col. iv., par. 12, 13; Pusey's " Daniel," p. 531, 
note 8. 

^ "Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society," vol. xii., pp. 88-9. 


disaffected. But in their courts, among their privy- 
councillors, they would act differently. There they 
would show their true feelings. Even in a proclama- 
tion addressed to all their subjects, as that of Darius 
was (ver. 25), they would not scruple to show their 
own feelings — as Darius Hystaspis and his successors 
did in all their rock-inscriptions — so long as they 
abstained from any direct disparagement of their 
subjects' gods, and merely required the acknowledg- 
ment of an additional deity besides those of the 
popular Pantheons. 



It is proposed in the present chapter to bring together 
the scattered notices in Scripture bearing upon the 
general condition of Babylon, the character of its 
government, and the manners and customs of its 
people ; and to inquire how far profane history con- 
firms or illustrates what Scripture tells us on these 
matters. A certain number of the points have necessa- 
rily been touched in some of the earlier chapters of the 
present volume, and thus it will be impossible to avoid 
a certain amount of repetition ; but the endeavour 
will be made to pass lightly over such topics as have 
been already put before the reader, and thus to reduce 
the repetition to a minimum. 

We have noticed indirectly, in connection with its 
commerce, the great wealth of Babylon. Isaiah calls 
it emphatically '* the golden city " (Isa. xiv. 4), or " the 
exactress of gold," as the passage may be rendered 
literally. Jeremiah compares Babylon to "a golden 
cup in the hand of the Lord " (Jer. li. 7), and calls her 
" abundant in treasures " (ib. ver. 13), declaring more- 


over that, at her fall, all those who partook of her 
spoil should be "satisfied" (ib. 1. 10). In Daniel the 
Babylonian kingdom is typified by the "head of gold" 
(Dan. ii. 38), and the opulence of the monarch is 
shown by the enormous size of the image, or rather 
pillar, of gold which he set up, a pillar ninety feet 
high by nine feet wide (ib. iii. i). The inscriptions are 
in accordance. Nebuchadnezzar tells us that he 
brought into the treasury of Merodach at Babylon 
*' wares, and ornaments for the women, silver, molten 
gold, precious stones, metal, itmritgana and cedar 
wood, a splendid abundance, riches and sources of 
joy."^ The temple of Merodach he "made conspicu- 
ous with fine linen, and covered its seats with splendid 
gold, with lapis lazuli, and blocks of alabaster."^ Its 
portico "with brilliant gold he caused men to cover; 
the lower threshold, the cedar awnings with gold and 
precious stones he embellished."^ And the rest of 
his sacred buildings were adorned similarly.* 

The primary source of the wealth of Babylon was 
its agriculture. Herodotus tells us that the yield of 
grain was commonly two hundred-fold, and in some 
instances three hundred-fold.^ Pliny asserts that the 
wheat-crop was reaped twice, and afterwards afforded 
good keep for beasts.^ When Babylonia became a 
province of the Persian Empire, it paid a tribute of a 
thousand talents of silver," and at the same time 

1" Records of the Past," vol. v., pp. 116-7. 2j]-,i(]^ p uy^ 

3 Ibid., pp. 119-20. *Ibid., vol. vii., pp. 72, 75-6. 

^ Herod., i. 193. ^Plin. H.N., xviii. 17. ''Herod., iii. 92. 


furnished the entire provision of the court during one- 
third of the year.^ Notwithstanding these calls upon 
them, its satraps became enormously wealthy.^ To 
the wealth obtained by agriculture is to be added that 
derived from commerce, and from conquest. Both of 
these points have already engaged our attention, and 
we have seen reason to believe that the gains made 
were in each case very great. Scripture makes allu- 
sion to the agricultural wealth of the country, when it 
enumerates among the chief calamities of the final 
invasion the " cutting off of the sower, and of him 
that handled the sickle in the time of harvest" (Jer. 1. 
16); and again when it makes special mention of the 
"opening of the granaries" as a feature in the sack of 
the city (ib. ver. 26). The commercial wealth is 
implied in the description of Babylon as " a city of 
merchants" (Ezek. xvii. 4), and of Babylonia as **a 
land of trafifick" (ib.). The wealth derived from con- 
quest receives notice in the statement of Habakkuk, 
"Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the 
remnant of the people shall spoil thee" (Hab. ii. 8), 
and is illustrated by the narrative of Kings (2 Kings 
XXV. 13-17). Nebuchadnezzar alludes to it when he 
says, "A palace for my royalty in the midst of the 
city of Babylon I built . . . tall cedars for its porticoes 
I fitted . . . with silver, gold, and precious stones I 
overlaid its gates . . . / valiantly collected' spoils ; as 
an adornment of the house were they arranged and 
collected within it ; trophies, abundance, royal treas- 
1 Herod., i. 192. 2 1\;^^^ 


ures, I accumulated and gathered together;"^ and 
again, ''Gatherings from great Imtds I made ; and, like 
the hills, I upraised its head."^ 

Among the spoil which was regarded as of especial 
value were scented woods, more particularly cedars, 
and perhaps pines, from Lebanon and Amanus. Isaiah, 
in describing the general rejoicing at the fall of the 
Babylonian Empire, remarks, "The whole earth is at 
rest and is quiet; they break forth into singing: yea, 
the fir-trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, 
saying. Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up 
against us" (Isa. xiv. 7, 8). The cuneiform inscrip- 
tions show that the practice of cutting timber in the 
Syrian mountains and conveying it to Mesopotamia, 
which had been begun by the Assyrian monarchs (2 
Kings xix. 23), was continued by the Babylonians. 
Nebuchadnezzar expressly states that " the best of his 
pine-trees front Lebanon, with tall babil-wood, he 
brought;"^ and Nabonidus tells us that, in his third 
year, he went to "Amananu, a mountainous country, 
where tall pines grew, and brought a part of them to 
the midst of Babylon."^ 

The great size of Babylon, and the immense height 
and thickness of its walls, have been dwelt upon at 
some length in a former chapter.^ Jeremiah is par- 
ticularly clear upon these points, though, naturally, he 

1 "Records of the Past," vol. v., p. 131, 

2 Ibid., p. 133. 3 Ibid., vol. v., p. 119. 
*" Transactions of the Bibl. Archseolog. Society," vol. vii., p. 154. 
^See above, ch. vi. 


enters into no details. "Though Babylon should 
mount lip to heaven,'' he says, ''and though she should 
fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall 
spoilers come unto her, saith the Lord" (Jer. li. 53); 
and again, "The broad walls of Babylon shall be 
utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned 
with fire" (ib. ver. 58); and, with respect to the size 
of the city, " One post shall run to meet another, and 
one messenger to meet another, to show the king of 
Babylon that his city is taken at one end" (ib. ver. 31). 
The government of Babylon by a despotic monarch, 
the sole source of all power and authority, and the 
absolute master of the lives and liberties of his sub- 
jects, which the Babylonian notices in Scripture set 
before us consistently, and which appears most mark- 
edly in Daniel (ch. ii. 12, 48, 49; iii. 6, 15, 29), is in 
complete accordance with all that profane history 
teaches on the subject. Nebuchadnezzar claims in 
his inscriptions to rule by Divine right. The sceptre 
of righteousness is delivered into his hand that there- 
with he may sustain men.^ From him alone com- 
mands issue ; by him alone all works are accomplished. 
No subject obtains any mention as even helping him. 
The inscriptions of Neriglissar and Nabonidus are of 
nearly the same character. And the classical accounts 
agree. It is clear that in Semitic Babylon, prior to 
the Medo- Persic conquest, there was no noble class 
possessing independent power, or any right of con- 
trolling the king. 

1 " Records of the Tast," vol. v., p. 114. 


There was, however, a learned class, which pos- 
sessed a certain distinction, which furnished priests to 
the chief temples, and claimed to interpret dreams and 
omens, and to foretell the future by means of astrology. 
Herodotus ^ and Diodorus ^ give this class the name 
of " Chaldseans," a nomenclature with which the Book 
of Daniel may be said to agree, if we accept the 
identification of " Chaldaeans " v/ith Casdim. At any 
rate, the book testifies to the existence of the class, 
and to the functions which belonged to it, as also 
does Isaiah, when he says of Babylon, " Let now the 
astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosti- 
cators, stand up and save thee from these things which 
shall come upon thee " (Isa. xlvii. 13). The title Rab- 
Mag, which may be suspected to have belonged to 
the chief of the Chaldaean order, is found both in 
Scripture (Jer. xxxix. 3, 13) and in the inscriptions. 
It has been translated "chief of the Magi;"^ but there 
seems to be no reason to believe that Magianism was 
in any way recognised by the Babylonians of the 
independent empire. 

There was also in Babylonia a numerous class of 
officials — a " bureaucracy," as it has been called — 
whereby the government of the country was actually 
carried on. In some places, the native sovereigns 
were indeed allowed to retain their authority for a 
time (2 Kings xxiv. i, 17), and the Babylonian monarch 
could thus be called with propriety a ''king of kings" 

1 Herod., i. 181, 183. 2 Diod. Sic, ii. 29. 

^ Speaker's Commentary on Jeremiah, xxxix. 3. 

144 ^^B ^L ^^ ^^^ ^^ ^Pl^' 

(Dan. ii. 37 ; Ezek. xxvi. 7) ; but the general system 
was to replace kings by " governors " (2 Kings xxv. 
22, 23 ; Berosus, Fr. 14) or "princes " (Dan. ii. 2), and 
to employ under these last a great variety of subor- 
dinates. The Babylonian contract tablets show at 
least eight or ten names of officers under government, 
of different ranks and gradations/ correspondent (in a 
general way) to the " princes, governors, captains, 
judges, treasurers, counsellors, sheriffs, and rulers of 
provinces " of the Book of Daniel, and thus indicate 
sufficiently the bureaucratic character of the govern- 

The general character of the Babylonian court as 
depicted in Daniel, and its agreement with what we 
know from other sources, has been already noticed. 
But the following illustrations may be added to those 
already given. The high position of the queen- 
mother at the court of Belshazzar receives illustration 
from the mention of " the mother of the king " in the 
tablet of Nabonidus, and from the fact that at her 
death there was a court mourning of three days' 
duration.^ The polygamy of the monarchs (Dan. v. 
2, 3) accords with what we hear of the " concubines " 
of Saul-Mugina.^ The employment of eunuchs (2 
Kings XX. 10; Dan. i. 3) agrees with Herod, iii. 92; 
that of music (Isa. xiv. 1 1 ; Dan. iii. 5, 7) with passages 

* "Records of the Past," vol. ix., pp. 91-108; vol. xi., pp. 91-8. 
' " Transactions of the Bibl. Archaeolog. Society," vol. vii., pp. 
•''" Records of the Past," vol. i., p. 77. 


in the Assyrian inscriptions, which speak of musicians 
and musical instruments as in vogue at the courts of 
other neighbouring kings ;^ that of "sweet odours" in 
the way of religious service (Dan. ii. 46) with v/hat 
Herodotus relates of the burning of frankincense on 
sacrificial occasions.^ The long detention in prison 
of offenders against the dignity of the crown, of which 
Isaiah speaks, when he says of the Babylonian 
monarch that he " opened not the door of his prisoners " 
(Isa. xiv. 17), and which is exemplified by the confine- 
ment of Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar for the extra- 
ordinary term of thirty-seven years (2 Kings xxv. 27), 
receives illustration from the story of Parsondas, as 
told by Nicolas of Damascus. Parsondas was a Mede, 
who desired to become king of Babylon under Artseus, 
and obtained from him the promise of the kingdom. 
Nannarus, the actual monarch, hearing of it, got Par- 
sondas into his power, and kept him a prisoner at his 
court for seven years, even then releasing him, not of 
his own free-will, but on the application of Artaeus, 
and under the apprehension that, if he refused, Artaeus 
would make war upon him, and deprive him of his 

One of the most surprising points in the represen- 
tation of Babylonian customs which the Scriptural 
account of the people brings before us is the severity 
and abnormal character of the punishments which were 
in use among them. To burn men to death in a 

*" Records of the Past," vol. ix., pp. 54, 55. 

2 Herod., i. 183. ^ Nic. Darn., Fr. Ii. 


furnace of fire, as Nebuchadnezzar proposed to do 
with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Dan. iii. 15- 
23), is so extraordinary a proceeding as to seem, at 
first sight, well-nigh incredible. To have men '' cut to 
pieces," which was the threat held out by the same 
monarch on two occasions (Dan. ii. 5 ; iii. 29), is 
almost as remarkable a mode of executing them. It 
might mitigate, perhaps, the feeling of incredulity 
with which the ordinary European hears of such 
terrible punishments to call attention to the punitive 
systems of other Oriental kingdoms. Take, for 
instance, the practice of the Persians : — 

"We may notice as a blot upon the Persian system and character" 
(I have elsewhere observed) " the cruelty and barbarity which was 
exhibited in the regular and legal punishments which were assigned to 
crimes and offences. The criminal code was exceedingly severe. The 
modes of execution were also, for the most part, unnecessarily cruel. 
Prisoners were punished by having their heads placed upon a broad 
stone, and then having their faces crushed, and their brains beaten out, 
by repeated blows with another stone. Ravlshers and rebels were put 
to death by cnicifixion. The horrible punishment of ' the boat ' seems 
to have been no individual tyrant's conception, but a recognised and 
legal form of execution. The same may be said also of burying alive. 
And the Pereian secondary punishments were also, for the most part, 
exceedingly barbarous." ^ 

But, besides this, there is direct evidence that the 
actual punishments mentioned as in use among the 
Babylonians of Nebuchadnezzar's time were known to 
the Mesopotamians of the period, and were upon 
occasions applied to criminals. Asshur-bani-pal, the 

^ *' Ancient Monarchies," vol. iii., pp. 246-7. 


son of Esar-haddon, declares, with respect to Saul- 
Mugina, his own brother, whom he had made king of 
Babylon, but who had revolted against him — " Saul- 
Mugina, my rebellious brother, who made war with 
me, hi the fierce, burning fire they threzv him, and 
destroyed his life." ^ Of another rebel, Dunanu, 
chief of the Gambalu, he also states — " Dunanu in 
Nineveh, over afiir^iace they placed him, and consumed 
him entirely!' ^ Nay, so natural does he consider it 
that rebels should, when taken, suffer death in this 
way, that, when he has to notice the escape of a certain 
number of Saul-Mugina's adherents, who had betaken 
themselves to flight, he expresses himself thus — " The 
people, whom Saul-Mugina, my rebellious brother, had 
caused to join him, and who, for their evil deeds, 
deserved death . . . they did not burn in the fire with 
Saul-Mugina their lord " ^ — implying that, if they had 
been caught, this would have been the mode of their 
execution. Again, of other rebels, kept apparently 
in some stone-quarries from the time of Sennacherib, 
his grandfather, Asshur-bani-pal tells us, " I threw 
those men again into that pit ; / cut off their limbs^ 
and caused them to be eaten by dogs, bears, eagles, 
vultures, birds of heaven, and fishes of the deep." ^ 

The liberty and publicity allowed to women in 
Babylonia, so contrary to usual Oriental custom, which 
appears in the Book of Daniel (ch. v. 2, 3, 10), is 
illustrated by the traditions concerning Semiramis and 

1 " Records of the Past," vol. i., p. 77. 2 ib}(j^ vol. ix., p. 56. 

3 Ibid., vol. i., 1. s. c. * Ibid., p. 78. 


Nitocris, and also by the account, which Herodotus 
gives, of certain Babylonian customs of a very unusual 
character. " Once a year," Herodotus tells us, " the 
marriageable maidens of every village in the country 
were required to assemble together into one place, 
while all the men stood round them in a circle. Then 
a herald (cf. Dan. iii. 4) called up the damsels one by 
one and offered them for sale . . . All who liked 
might come even from distant villages and bid for the 
women." ^ Again he says, " The Babylonians have 
one most shameful custom. Every woman born in 
the country must, once in her life, go and sit down in 
the precinct of Venus and there consort with a stranger. 
Many of the wealthier sort, who are too proud to mix 
with the others, drive in covered carriages to the 
precinct, followed by a goodly train of attendants, and 
there take their station. Where they sit there is 
always a great crowd, some coming and others going. 
Lines of cord mark out paths in all directions ; and 
the strangers pass along them to make their choice. 
. . . Some women have remained three or four years 
in the precinct."^ The statements of Herodotus on 
these points are confirmed by other writers, and there 
is ample reason to believe that the seclusion of the sex, 
so general in other parts of the East, was abhorrent 
to Babylonian ideas.^ 

The free use of wine in Babylonia, not only at royal 
banquets (Dan. v. 1-4), but in the ordinary diet of the 

* Herod., i., 196. ^jbid., i. 199. 

'See the author's "Ancient Monarchies," vol, iii., p. 22. 


upper classes (ib. i. 5-16), is what we should scarcely 
have expected in so hot a region, and one wholly 
unsuited for the cultivation of the vine. Yet it is 
quite certain from profane sources that the fact was as 
represented in Scripture. Herodotus tells us of a 
regular trade between Armenia and Babylon down the 
course of the Euphrates, in which the boats used 
were sometimes of as much as five thousand talents 
burden.^ He declares that the staple of the trade was 
wine, which, not being produced in the country, was 
regularly imported from abroad year after year. In 
the story of Parsondas we find Nannarus abundantly 
supplied with wine, and liberal in its use.^ The 
Chaldsean account of the Deluge represents Hasis- 
adra as collecting it " in receptacles, like the waters of 
a river," for the benefit of those who were about to 
enter the ark,^ and as pouring " seven jugs " of it in 
libation, when, on the subsidence of the waters, he 
quitted his shelter.* Quintus Curtius relates that the 
Babylonians of Alexander's time were fond of drinking 
wine to excess ; their banquets were magnificent, and 
generally ended in drunkenness."^ 

The employment of war-chariots by the Babylo- 
nians, which is asserted by Jeremiah (Jer. iv. 13; 1. 37), 
in marked contrast with his descriptions of the Medo- 
Persians, who are represented as "riders upon horses'* 
(ib. ver. 42 ; compare ch. li. 27), receives confirmation 

1 Herod,, i. 194. ^ggg jsjic. Dam., Fr. il. 

3 " Records of the Past," vol. vii,, p. 137. 

*Ibid., p. 140. ^ Q. Curt., v. i. 


from the Assyrian inscriptions, which repeatedly 
mention the chariot force as an important part of the 
Babylonian army/ and is also noticed by Polyhistor.^ 
Their skill with the bow, also noted by the same 
prophet (ch. iv. 29; v. 16; vi. 23 ; li. 3), has the support 
of yEschylus,^ and is in accordance with the monu- 
ments, which show us the bow as the favourite weapon 
of the monarchs.'^ 

The pronounced idolatry prevalent in Babylon 
under the later kings, which Scripture sets forth in 
such strong terms (Jer. 1. 2, 38 ; li. i7,-47, 52 ; Dan. v. 
4), scarcely requires the confirmation which is lent to 
it by the inscriptions and by profane writers. Idola- 
trous systems had possession of all Western Asia at 
the time, and the Babylonian idolatry was not of a 
much grosser type than the Assyrian, the Syrian, or 
the Phoenician. But it is perhaps worthy of remark 
that the particular phase of the religion, which the 
great Hebrew prophets set forth, is exactly that found 
by the remains to have characterized the later empire. 
In the works of these writers three Babylonian gods 
only are particularised by name — Bel, Nebo, Merodach 
— and in the monuments of the period these three 
deities are exactly those which obtain • the most 
frequent mention and hold the most prominent place. 

^''Records of the Past," vol. i., p. 22; vol. vii., p. 59; vol. xi. 
P- 55- 

2 See the " Fragm. Hist. Grsec." of C. Muller, vol. ii. 

^^schyl., "Pers.," 1. 55. 

* See " Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 560; vol. iii., p, 7. 


The kings of the later empire, with a single exception, 
had names which placed them under the protection of 
one or other of these three ; and their inscriptions 
show that to these three they paid, at any rate, especial 
honour. Merodach holds the first place in the 
memorials of their reigns left by Nebuchadnezzar and 
Neriglissar ; Bel and Nebo bear off the palm in the 
inscriptions of Nabonidus. While " the great gods " 
obtain occasional but scanty notice, as " the holy 
gods " do in the Book of Daniel (Dan. iv. 8, 9), Bel, 
Nebo, and Merodach alone occur frequently, alone 
seem to be viewed, not as local, but as great national 
deities, alone engage the thoughts and receive the 
adoration of the nation. 



The complete destruction of Babylon, and her desola- 
tion through long ages, is prophesied in Scripture 
repeatedly, and with a distinctness and minuteness 
that are very remarkable. The most striking of the 
prophecies are the following: — 

** Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excel- 
lency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall 
never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to gene- 
ration; neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the 
shepherds make their fold there. But 7mld beasts of the desert shall lie 
there ; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures ; and owls 
shall d7uell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of 
the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their 
pleasant palaces ; and her time is near to come ; and her days shall not 
be prolonged." — IsA, xiii. 19-22. 

" I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off 
from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the 
Lord. I will also 7nake it a possession for the bittern, and pools of 
water ; and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the 
Lord of hosts." — IsA. xiv. 22, 23. 

" Chaldea shall be a spoil ; all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith 
the Lord. Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers 
of My heritage ; because ye are giown fat, as the heifer at grass, and 


bellow as bulls ; your mother shall be sore confounded ; she that bare 
you shall be ashamed ; behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a 
wilderness^ a dry landy and a desert. Because of the wrath of the 
Lord it shall not be inhabited^ but it shall be wholly desolate ; every one 
that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. 
Put yourselves in an-ay against Babylon round about ; all ye that bend 
the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows ; for she hath sinned against the 
Lord. Shout against her round about : she hath given her hand ; her 
foundations are fallen, her zualls are thrown down ; for it is the ven- 
geance of the Lord : take vengeance upon her : as she hath done, do 
unto her." — Jer. 1, 10-15. 

'■'■A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up ; for it is 
the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols. There- 
fore the wild beasts of the desert, with the wild beasts of the islands, 
shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein ; and it shall be no 
more inhabited for ever ; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to 
generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour 
cities thereof, saith the Lord, so shall no man abide there, neither shall 
any son of man dwell therein.'' — Vers. 38-40. 

" Thus saith the Lord ; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take 
vengeance for thee ; and / will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry. 
And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling-place for dragons, an 
astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant. They shall roar 
together like lions ; they shall yell as lions' whelps. In their heat I will 
make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, 
and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord. I will bring 
them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he-goats. How 
is Sheshach taken! And how is the praise of the whole earth sur- 
prised ! How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations ! 
The sea is come up tcpon Babylon; she is covered with the multitude 
of the waves thereof. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a 
wilderness, a land wherein no man dzvelleth, neither doth any son of 
man pass thereby."— ]er. li. 36-43- 

The general accuracy of these descriptions has been 
frequently noticed, scarcely a traveller from the time 



of Pietro della Valle to the present day having failed 
to be struck by it. But it seems worth while to con- 
sider, somewhat in detail, the principal points on 
which the prophetical writers insist, and to adduce 
upon each of them the testimony of modern observers. 
First, then, the foundations of Babylon were to fall, 
her lofty and broad walls were to be thrown down 
(Jer. 1. 15), and she was not to present the appearance 
of a ruined city at all, but simply to " become heaps " 
(ch. li. 37). It is the constant remark of travellers 
that what are called the ruins of Babylon are simply 
a succession of unsightly mounds, some smaller, some 
larger — "shapeless heaps of rubbish,"^ "immense 
tumuli,"^ elevations that might easily be mistaken for 
natural hills, and that only after careful examination 
convince the beholder that they are human construc- 
tions.^ The complete disappearance of the walls is 
particularly noticed;* and the visitor,^ who has alone 
attempted to conjecture the position which they occu- 
pied, can mark no more than some half-dozen mounds 
along the line which he ventures to assign to them. 
One main portion of the ruins is known to the Arabs 
as the Mujellibe, or " the Overturned," from the utter 

^Layard, "Nineveh and Babylon," p. 491. 

2 Ker Porter, "Travels," vol. ii., p. 294. 

^Ker Porter speaks of the ruins as "ancient foundations, more 
resembling natural hills in appearance, than mounds covering the 
remains of fomier great and splendid edifices" ("Travels," vol. ii., 
p. 297). 

*Layard, "Nineveh and Babylon," pp. 493, 494. 

^Oppert, "Expedition Scientifique en M6sopotamie," vol. i., pp. 220- 


confusion that reigns among the broken walls and 
blocked passages and deranged bricks of its interior. 
Only a single fragment of a building still erects itself 
above the mass of rubbish whereof the mounds are 
chiefly composed/ to show that human habitations 
really once stood where all is now ruin, decay, and 

When Babylon was standing in all its glory, with 
its great rampart walls from two hundred to three 
hundred feet high, with its lofty palaces and temple- 
towers, with its " hanging gardens," reckoned one of 
the world's wonders, and even its ordinary houses 
from three to four stories high,^ it was a bold prophecy 
that the whole would one day disappear — that the 
edifices would all crumble into ruin, and the decom- 
posed material cover up and conceal the massive 
towers and walls, presenting nothing to the eye but 
rounded hillocks, huge unsightly "heaps." It may be 
that such a fate had already befallen the great cities of 
Assyria, which had been destroyed nearly a century 
earlier, and which, from the nature of their materials, 
must have gone rapidly to decay. But the lessons 
of the past do not readily impress themselves on men ; 
and it must have required a deep conviction of God's 
absolute foreknowledge on the part of the Hebrew 
prophets to publish it abroad, on the strength of a 
spiritual communication, that such a fate would over- 

1 Layard, " Nineveh and Babylon," p. 484; Rich, "First Memoir," 
P- 25. 

2 Herod., i. 180. 


take the greatest city of their day — " the glory of 
kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency" 
(Isa. xiii. 19) — the city "given to pleasure, that dwelt 
carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and none else 
beside me ; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I 
know the loss of children " (ch. xlvii. 8). 

The second point specially to be noted in the 
prophecies concerning Babylon is the prediction of 
absolute loss of inhabitants. The positions of import- 
ant cities are usually so well chosen, so rich in natural 
advantages, that population clings to them ; dwindle 
and decay as they may, decline as they may from their ' 
high estate, some town, some village, some collection 
of human dwellings still occupies a portion of the 
original site ; their ruins echo to the sound of the 
human voice; they are not absolute solitudes. 
Clusters of Arab huts cling about the pillars of the 
great temples at Luxor and Karnak ; the village of 
Nebbi Yunus crowns the hill formed by the ruins of 
Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh ; Memphis hears the 
hum of the great city of Cairo ; Tanis, the capital of 
Rameses II. and his successor, the Pharaoh of the 
Exodus, lives on in the mud hovels of San ; Damas- 
cus, Athens, Rome, Antioch, Byzantium, Alexandria, 
have remained continuously from the time of their 
foundation towns of consequence. But Babylon soon 
became, and has for ages been, an absolute desert= 
Strabo, writing in the reign of Augustus, could say 
of it that " the great city had become a great solitude." ^ 

^Strab., xvi. I, ^ 5 : — 'H neydlr] TrdTiiq jueydTirj 'crtv Iprjuia 


Jerome tells us that the Persian kings had made it 
into one of their ** paradises," or hunting parks/ 
Seleucia, Ctesiphon, Bagdad, successively took its 
place, and were built out of its ruins. There was " no 
healing of its bruise." When European travellers 
began to make their way to the far East, the report 
which they brought home was as follows : — " Babylon 
is in the grete desertes of Arabye, upon the way as 
men gone towards the kyngdome of Caldee. But it 
is fulle longe sithe ony man neyhe to the towne ; for 
it is alle dcscrte, and fulle of dragons and grete 
serpentes." ^ The accounts of modern explorers are 
similar. They tell us that ''the site of Babylon is a 
naked and a hideous waste." ^ "All around," says one 
of the latest, " is a blank waste, recalling the words 
of Jeremiah — ' Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, 
and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, 
neither doth any son of man pass thereby.'"'^ No 
village crowns any of the great mounds which mark 
the situations of the principal buildings; no huts 
nestle among the lower eminences. A single modern 
building shows itself on the summit of the largest 
tumulus ; it is a tomb, empty and silent. 

Isaiah intensifies his description of the solitude by 
the statement, " Neither shall the Arabian pitch tent 
there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold 
there" (ch. xiii. 20). If the entire space contained 

1 " Comment, in Esaiam,'' vol. v., p. 25, C. 

2 Maundeville's Travels (1322), quoted by Ker Porter, vol.ii., p. 336. 

^Layard, 1. s. c. *Loftus, "Chaldasa and Susiana," p. 20. 


within the circuit of the ancient walls be viewed as 
" Babylon," the words of the prophet will not be liter- 
ally true. The black tents of the Zobeide Arabs are 
often seen dotting the plain — green in spring, yellow 
in autumn — which encircles the great mounds, stretch- 
ing from their base to the far horizon. Much of this 
space was no doubt included within the walls of the 
ancient city ; and this is traversed by the Arabian from 
time to time — flocks are pastured there, and tents 
pitched there. But if the term " Babylon " be restricted 
to the mass of ruins to which the name still attaches, 
and which must have constituted the heart of the 
ancient town, then Isaiah's words will be strictly true 
in their most literal sense. On the actual ruins of 
Babylon the Arabian neither pitches his tent nor 
pastures his flocks — in the first place, because the 
nitrous soil produces no pasture to tempt him ; and 
secondly, because an evil reputation attaches to the 
entire site, which is thought to be the haunt of evil 

A curious feature in the prophecies, and one worthy 
of notice, is the apparent contradiction that exists 
between two sets of statements contained in them, one 
of which attributes the desolation of Babylon to the 
action of water, while the other represents the waters 
as "dried up," and the site as cursed with drought and 

^"AIl the people of the country," says Mr. Rich, "assert that it is 
extremely dangerous to approach this mound (the Kasr) after nightfall, 
on account of the multitude of evil spirits by which it is haunted" 
("First Memoir," p. 27). Compare Ker Porter's "Travels," vol. ii., 


barrenness. To the former class belong the statements 
of Isaiah, " I will also make it a possession for the 
bittern, and pools of water'' (ch. xiv. 23); and "The 
cormorant (pelican ?) and the bittern shall possess it" (ch. 
xxxiv. 11); together with the following passage of 
Jeremiah, " The sea is come up upon Babylon ; she is 
covered with the imdtitude of the waves thereof (ch. li. 
42) ; to the latter such declarations as the subjoined, 
" A drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried 
up'' (Jer. 1. 38); " I will dry up her sea" (ch. li. 36); 
" Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilder- 
ness " (ver. 43) ; " the hindermost of the nations shall 
be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert" (ch. 1. 12); 
** Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of 
Babylon" (Isa. xlvii. i). 

But this antithesis, this paradox, is exactly in 
accordance with the condition of things which trav- 
ellers note as to this day attaching to the site. The 
dry, arid aspect of the ruins, of the vast mounds which 
cover the greater buildings, and even the lesser 
elevations which spread far into the plain at their base, 
receives continual notice. " The whole surface of the 
mounds appears to the eye," says Ker Porter, "nothing 
but vast irregular hills of earth, mixed with fragments 
of brick, pottery, vitrifications, mortar, bitumen, etc., 
while the foot at every step sinks into the loose dust 
and rubbish."'^ And again ''Every spot of ground in 
sight zvas totally barren, and on several tracts appeared 
the common marks of former building. It is an old 

^ Ker Porter, "Travels," vol, ii., p. 372. 


adage that ' where a curse has fallen grass will never 
grow.* In like manner the decomposing materials of a 
Babylonian structure doom the earth on wJiich they perish 
to an everlasting sterility T ^ " On all sides," says Sir 
Austen Layard, " fragments of glass, marble, pottery, 
and inscribed brick are mingled with that peculiar 
nitrous and blanched soil which, bred from the remains 
of ancient habitations, checks or destroys vegetation, 
and renders the site of Babylon a naked and hideous 

On the other hand, the neglect of the embankments 
and canals which anciently controlled the waters of 
the Euphrates, and made them a defence to the city 
and not a danger, has consigned great part of what 
was anciently Babylon to the continual invasion of 
floods, which, stagnating in the lower grounds, have 
converted large tracts once included within the walls 
of the city into lakes, pools, and marshes. "The 
country to the westward of Babylon," writes Ker 
Porter, " seemed very low and swampy. . . . On 
turning to the north, similar morasses and ponds 
tracked the land in various parts. Indeed, for a long 
time after the annual overflowing of the Euphrates, not 
only great part of the plain is little better than a swamp, 
but large deposits of the waters are left stagnant in 
the hollows between the ruins." ^ " From the summit 
of the Birs Nimroud," observes Layard, "I gazed over 

^ Ker Porter, "Travels," vol. ii., p, 391. 

2 Layard, '< Nineveh and Babylon," p. 484. 

3 Ker Porter, " Travels," vol. ii., p. 389. 


a vast marsh, for Babylon is made 'a possession for 
the bittern, and pools of water.' " ^ Of the space imme- 
diately about the chief ruins, Ker Porter notes, *' This 
spot contains some cultivation, but more water, which 
sapping element may well account for the abrupt 
disappearance of the two parallel ridges at its most 
swampy point." ^ 

Even some of the minor features of the picture, 
which one might naturally have regarded as the mere 
artistic filling up of the scene of desolation, which he 
had to depict, by the imagination of the prophet, are 
found to be in strict and literal accordance with the 
actual fact. ** The daughters of the owl shall dwell 
there," says Isaiah (ch. xiii. 21), and Jeremiah, *' The 
owls shall dwell therein " (ch. 1. 39). " In most of the 
cavities of the Babil mound," remarks Mr. Rich, "there 
are numbers of bats and owlsT ^ Sir Austen Layard 
goes further into particulars. " A large grey owl," he 
tells us, " is found in great numbers — frequently in 
flocks of nearly a hundred — in the low shrubs among 
the ruins of Babylon." ^ The " owl " of the prophets 
is thus not a mere flourish of rhetoric, but a historical 
reality — an actual feature of the scene, as it presents 
itself to the traveller at the present day. 

"Wild beasts of the desert shall lie there" (Isa. xiii. 
21); "the wild beasts of the desert, with the wild 

* " Nineveh and Babylon," p. 300. 
2 Ker Porter, "Travels," vol. ii., p. 351. 
' Rich, "First Memoir," p. 30. 
* Layard, " Nineveh and Babylon," p. 484, note. 


beasts of the islands, shall dwell there " (Jer. 1. 39). 
So it was prophesied, and so it is. Speaking of the 
Babil mound, Mr. Rich observes, " There are many 
dens of wild beasts in various parts, in one of which 
I found the bones of sheep and other animals, and 
perceived a strong smell, like that of a lion."^ "There 
are several deep excavations into the sides of the 
mound," remarks Ker Porter. " These souterrains 
are now the refuge of jackals and other savage animals. 
The mouths of their entrances are strewn with the 
bones of sheep and goats ; and the loathsome smell 
that issues from most of them is sufficient warning 
not to proceed into the den." ^ On a visit to the Birs 
Nimroud, the same traveller observed through his 
glass several lions on the summit of the great mound, 
and afterwards found their foot-prints in the soft soil 
of the desert at its base.^ This feature of the prophe- 
cies also is therefore literally fulfilled. The solitude, 
deserted by men, is sought the more on that account 
by the wild beasts of the country ; and the lion, the 
jackal, and probably the leopard, have their lairs in 
the substructions of the temple of Belus, and the 
palace of Nebuchadnezzar. 

No doubt there are also features of the prophetic 
announcements which have not at present been 
authenticated. It is impossible to say what exactly 
was intended by the " doleful creatures " and the 
"satyrs" of Isaiah, which were to haunt the ruins, 

* Rich, " First Memoir," pp. 29, 30. 

' Ker Porter, " Travels," vol, ii., p, 342. ' Ibid., pp. 387-8. 


and to have their habitation among them. Literally, 
the "satyrs " are "hairy ones,"^ — a descriptive epithet, 
which is applicable to beasts of the field generally. 
The " dragons " of Isaiah (ch. xiii. 22) and Jeremiah 
(ch. li. 37) should be serpents, which have not been 
noted recently as lurking among the " heaps." Sir J. 
Maundeville,^ however, tells us that in his day — the 
early part of the fourteenth century — the site of Baby- 
lon was " fulle of dragons and grete serpentes," as 
well as of " dyverse other veneymouse bestes alle 
abouten." It is possible that the breed of serpents 
has died out in Lower Mesopotamia ; it is equally 
possible that it exists, but has been hitherto overlooked 
by travellers.^ 

On the whole, it is submitted to the reader's judg- 
ment whether the prophetic announcements of Holy 
Scripture, as to what was to befall Babylon, are not 
almost as important evidence of the truth of the 
Scripture record as the historical descriptions. The 
historical descriptions have to be compared with the 
statements of profane writers, which may or may not 
be true statements. The prophetical declarations can 
be placed side by side with actual tangible facts — facts 
which it is impossible to gainsay, facts whereto each 
fresh observer who penetrates into Lower Mesopo- 
tamia is an additional witness. Travellers to the site 

1 D"U:^K? from '^"'^^, "hairy, rough." 

2 Quoted by Ker Porter ("Travels," vol. ii., p. 336). 

^ If the true interpretation of the word used be (as some think) 
"jackals," the statement made would be one of those fulfilled most 


of Babylon, even when in no respect religious men, 
are, if they have the most moderate acquaintance with 
Scripture, penetrated with a deep feeling of astonish- 
ment at the exactness of the agreement between the 
announcements made two thousand five hundred years 
ago and the actual state of things which they see with 
their eyes. The fate denounced against Babylon has 
been accomplished, not only in all essential points, but 
even in various minute particulars. The facts cannot 
be disputed — there they are. While historical evidence 
loses force the further we are removed from the events 
recorded, the evidence of fulfilled prophecy continually 
gains in strength as the ages roll on in their unceasing 
course ; and the modern searcher after truth possesses 
proofs of the trustworthiness of the Word of God 
which were denied to those who lived at an earlier 



" The sons of Ham : Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan " 
(Gen. X. 6). " And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Ananim, and Lehabim, 
and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim (out of whom came 
Philistim), and Caphtorim." — Vers. 13, 14. 

These are the first notices of Egypt which occur in 
Holy Scripture. The word Mizraim, which is here 
simply transliterated from the Hebrew (an^fp), is else- 
where, except in i Chron. i. 8, uniformly translated by 
" Egypt," or " the Egyptians." It undoubtedly desig- 
nates the country still known to us as Egypt ; but the 
origin of the name is obscure. There is no term 
corresponding to it in the hieroglyphical inscriptions, 
where Egypt is called "Kam," or "Khem," "the Black 
(land)," or " Ta Mera," "the inundation country." 
The Assyrians, however, are found to have denomi- 
nated the region " Muzur," or " Musr," and the Persians 
" Mudr," or " Mudraya," a manifest corruption. The 
present Arabic name is " Misr " ; and it is quite 
possible that these various forms represent some 
ancient Egyptian word, which was in use among the 
people, though not found in the hieroglyphics. The 



Hebrew " Mizraim " is a dual word, and signifies "the 
two Mizrs," or " the two Egypts," an expression readily 
intelligible from the physical conformation of the 
country, which naturally divides itself into "Upper" 
and " Lower Egypt," the long narrow valley of the 
Nile, and the broad tract, known as the Delta, on the 

We learn from the former of the two passages 
quoted above that the Egyptian people was closely 
allied to three others, viz., the Cushite or Ethiopian 
race, the people known to the Hebrews as " Phut," 
and the primitive inhabitants of Canaan. The ethnic 
connection of ancient races is a matter rarely touched 
on by profane writers ; but the connection of the 
Egyptians with the Canaanites was asserted by Eupo- 
lemus,^ and a large body of classical tradition tends to 
unite them with the Ethiopians. The readiness with 
which Ethiopia received Egyptian civilization^ lends 
support to the theory of a primitive identity of race ; 
and linguistic research, so far as it has been pursued 
hitherto, is in harmony with the supposed close 

From the other passage (Gen. x. 13, 14) we learn 
that the Egyptians themselves were ethnically separ- 
ated into a number of distinct tribes, or subordinate 
races, of whom the writer enumerates no fewer than 
seven. The names point to a geographic separation 

^ See a fragment of Eupolemus quoted by Polyhistor in C. Muller's 
"Fr. Hist. Groec," vol. iii., p. 212, Fr. 3. 
2 Herod, ii. 30. 


of the races, since they have their representatives in 
different portions of the Egyptian territory. Now this 
separation accords with, and explains, the strongly 
marked division of Egypt into " nomes," having con- 
flicting usages and competing religious systems. It 
suggests the idea that the " nome " was the original 
territory of a tribe, and that the Egyptian monarchy 
grew up by an aggregation of nomes, which were not 
originally divisions of a kingdom, like coundes, but 
distinct states, like the kingdoms of the Heptarchy. 
This is a view taken by many of the historians of 
ancient Egypt, derived from the facts as they existed in 
later times. It receives confirmation and explanation 
from the enumeration of Egyptian races — not a com- 
plete one, probably— \v hi ch is made in this passage. 

" Abram went down into Egypt, to sojourn there . . . And it came 
to pass that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld- 
the woman (Sarai) that she was \cxy fair. The princes also of Pharaoh 
saw her and commended her before Pharaoh; and the woman was 
taken into Pharaoh's house. And he entreated Abram well for her 
sake : and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and 
maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels. And the Lord plagued 
Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, because of Sarai, Abram's 
wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said. What is this that thou 
hast done unto me ? Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy 
wife ? Why saidst thou. She is my sister ? So I might have taken her 
to me to wife : now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy 
way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him : and they 
sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had."— Gen. xii. 10-20. 

The early date of this notice makes it peculiarly 
interesting. Whether we take the date of Abraham's 


visit as circ. b. c. 1920, with Usher, or, with others,^ as 
a hundred and sixty years earher, it seems almost 
certain that it must have fallen into the time of that 
" old Egyptian Empire " which preceded the great 
Hyksos invasion, and developed at that remote date 
the original Egyptian civilization. Does then the 
portraiture of the Egypt of this period resemble that 
of the ancient empire, as revealed to us by the monu- 
ments ? No doubt the portraiture is exceedingly 
slight, the main object of the writer, apparently, being 
to record an incident in the life of Abraham wherein 
he fell into sin. Still certain points are sufficiently 
marked, as the following: — i. Egypt is a settled 
monarchy under a Pharaoh, who has princes {sarini) 
under him, at a time when the neighbouring countries 
are occupied mainly by nomadic tribes under petty 
chiefs. 2. Reports are brought to the Pharaoh by his 
princes with respect to foreigners who enter his 
country. 3. Egypt is already known as a land of 
plenty, where there will be corn and forage when 
famine has fallen upon Syria. 4. Domesticated ani- 
mals are abundant there, and include sheep, oxen, 
asses, and camels, but (apparently) no horses. What 
has profane history to say on these four points ? 

First, then, profane history lays it down that a 
settled government was established in Egypt, and 
monarchical institutions set up, at an earlier date than 
in any other country. On this point Herodotus, 
Diodorus, and the Greek writers generally, are agreed, 
»As Mr. Stuart Poole ("Diet, of the Bible," vol. i., p. 508). 


while the existing remains, assisted by the interpreta- 
tion of Manetho, point to the same result. It is not 
now questioned by any historian of repute but that 
the Eg>'ptian monarchy dates from a time anterior to 
B. c. 20CX), while there are writers who carry it back to 
B.C. 5004.^ The title of the monarch, from a very 
remote antiquity,^ was " Per-ao," or " the Great 
House," ^ which the Hebrews would naturally repre- 
sent by Phar-aoh (ri;?n£!). He was, from the earliest 
times to which the monuments go back, supported by 
powerful nobles, or " princes," who were hereditary 
landed proprietors of great wealth.* 

Secondly, a scene in a tomb at Beni Hassan clearly 
shows that, under the Old Empire, foreigners on their 
arrival in the country, especially if they came with a 
train of attendants, as Abraham would (Gen. xiv. 14), 
were received at the frontier by the governor of the 
province, whose secretary took down in writing their 
number, and probably their description, doubtless for 
the purpose of forwarding a " report " to the court. 
Reports of this character, belonging to later times, 
have been found, and are among the most interesting 
of the ancient documents. It was regarded as espe- 
cially important to apprise the monarch of all that 
happened upon his north-eastern frontier, where Egypt 

» So Lenormant, following Mariette (" Manuel d'Histoire Aneienne,'* 
vol. i., p. 321). 

2 See Canon Cook in the "Speaker's Conimentary," vol. i., p. 47S, 

3 Compare the phrase " the Ottoman Porte." 

* Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," pp. 44, 64, etc. 


abutted upon tribes of some considerable strength, 
whose proceedings had to be watched with care. 

Thirdly, there is abundant evidence that, under the 
Old Empire, Egypt was largely productive, and kept 
in its granaries a great store of corn, which was 
available either for home consumption, or for the 
relief of foreigners on occasions of scarcity. In the 
time of the twelfth dynasty state-granaries existed, 
which were under the control of overseers appointed 
by the crown, who were officials of a high dignity, 
and had many scribes, or clerks, employed in carrying 
out the details of their business.^ Even private per- 
sons laid up large quantities of grain, and were able in 
bad seasons to prevent any severe distress, either by 
gratuitous distributions, or by selling their accumula- 
tions at a moderate price.^ 

Fourthly, the domesticated animals in the early 
times include all those mentioned as given to Abra- 
ham by the Pharaoh with whom he came into contact, 
except the camel, while they do not include the horse. 
It was once denied^ that the Egypt of Abraham's 
time possessed asses ; but the tombs of Ghizeh have 
shown that they were the ordinary beast of burden 
during the pyramid period, and that sometimes an 
individual possessed as many as seven or eight hun- 
dred. No trace has been found of camels in the 
Egyptian monuments, and it is quite possible that 

^ Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," p. 63. 

2 " Records of the Past," vol. xii., pp. 63, 64. 

3 By Von Bohlcn in his " Die Genesis erlautert." 


they were only employed upon the north-eastern 
frontier ; but the traffic between Egypt and the Sinaitic 
peninsula, which was certainly carried on by the 
Pharaohs of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and twelfth dynas- 
ties, can scarcely have been conducted in any other 
way.^ For Abraham, a temporary sojourner in the 
land, about to return through the desert into Palestine, 
camels would be a most appropriate present, and thus 
their inclusion in the list of animals given is open to no 
reasonable objection, though certainly v/ithout con- 
firmation from the remains hitherto discovered in 
Egypt. The omission from the list of the horse is, on 
the contrary, a most significant fact, since horses, so 
abundant in Egypt at the date of the Exodus (Exod. 
ix. 3 ; xiv. 9, 23 ; xv. I, 21), were unknown under the 
early monarchy,^ having been first introduced by the 
Hyksos, and first largely used by the kings of the 
eighteenth dynasty. 

" They lifted up their eyes, and looked, and, behold, a company of 
Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels, bearing spicer}', and 
balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Eg>'pt . . . and they sold 
Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver : and they brought 
Joseph into Egypt . . . and sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an 
officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard." — Gen, xxxvii. 25-36. 

The first thing here especially noticeable is that 
Egypt requires for its consumption large quantities of 
spices, and is supplied with them, not by direct com- 

* Compare Gen. xxxvii. 25. 

2 Birch, pp. 42, 82 ; Chabas, " Etudes sur 1' Antiquite Historique," p. 


merce with Arabia across the Red Sea, as we might 
have expected, but by caravans of merchants, who 
reach Egypt through Gilead and Southern Palestine. 
Now the large consumption of spices by the Egyptians 
is witnessed by Herodotus, who tells us that, in the 
best method of embalming, which was employed by 
all the wealthier classes of the Egyptians, a large 
quantity of aromatics, especially myrrh and cassia, was 
necessary, the abdomen being not only washed out 
with an infusion of them, but afterwards filled up with 
the bruised spices themselves/ The Egyptian monu- 
ments show that aromatics were also required for the 
worship of the gods, especially Ammon. Not only 
do we continually see the priests with censers in their 
hands, in which incense is being burnt, but we read of 
an expedition made to the land of Punt for the express 
purpose of bringing frankincense and frankincense 
trees " for the majesty of the god Ammon," to 
" honour him with resin from the incense-trees, and 
by vases full of fresh incense."^ It is observable, 
however, on this particular occasion, the spicery 
imported came from Arabia, and reached Egypt by 
sea, which may seem at first sight to be an objection 
to the existence of a caravan spice trade. But a con- 
sideration of the dates deprives this objection of all 
force. The expedition to Punt, which is spoken of as 
the first that ever took place, was sent by Queen 
Hatasu, and belongs to the eighteenth dynasty— the 
first of the New Empire. Joseph was sold into Egypt 
^ Herod, ii. 86. 2 « Records of the Past," vol x., pp. 18, 19. 


under the Middle Empire, and, according to tradition,^ 
was prime minister of Apepi, the " shepherd " king. 
The sea-trade with Punt for spices not being at that 
time open, the spices of Arabia could only be obtained 
by land traffic. 

The passage further implies the existence in Egypt 
at this time of a traffic in slaves, who were foreigners, 
and valued at no very high rate. The monuments 
prove slaves to have been exceedingly numerous 
under the Ancient Empire. The king had a vast 
number ; the estates of the nobles were cultivated by 
them ; and a large body of hicroduli, or " sacred 
slaves," was attached to most of the temples. Foreign 
slaves seem to have been preferred to native ones, and 
wars were sometimes undertaken less with the object 
of conquest or subjugation than with that of obtaining 
a profit by selling those who were taken prisoners in 
the slave market.^ We have no direct information as 
to the value of slaves at this period from Egyptian 
sources, but from their abundance they were likely to 
be low-priced, and " twenty shekels " is very much the 
rate at which, judging from analogy, we should have 
been inclined to estimate them. 

" The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man ; and he 
was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. And his master saw 
that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to 
prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he 
served him ; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he 

1 Syncellus, " Chronograph," p. 62, B. 

2 Brugsch, " Hist, of Egypt," vol. 1., p. i6l. 



had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had 
made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord 
blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake ; and the blessing of the 
Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he 
left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he knew not aught he had, 
save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person 
and well-favoured. And it came to pass after these thnigs that his 
master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph ; and she said, Lie with me. 
But he refused, and said unto his master's wife. Behold, my master 
wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all 
that he hath to my hand ; there is none greater in this house than I ; 
neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee,.because thou art 
his wife ; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against 
God ? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he 
hearkened not to her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to 
pass about this time that Joseph went into the house to do his business, 
and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she 
caught him by his garment, saying. Lie with me ; and he left his gar- 
ment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass 
when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was 
fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto 
them saying, See he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us ; he 
came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice ; and it 
came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and ci-icd, that 
he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. And she laid 
up his garment by her until his lord came home. And she spoke unto 
him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant which thou 
hast brought unto us came in unto me to mock me ; and it came to 
pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me 
and fled out. And it came to pass, when his master heard "the words 
of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying. After this manner did 
thy servant to me, that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph's master 
took him and put him into the prison." — Gen. xxxix. 2-20. 

It has often been observed that this picture is in 
remarkable harmony with the general tone of Egyptian 


manners and customs. The licentiousness of the 
women provoked the strictures of the Greek historians, 
Herodotus and Diodorus/ The Hberty which they 
enjoyed of intermixing and conversing with men, so 
contrary to the general Oriental practice, is fully borne 
out, both by the tales of the Egyptian novelists, and 
by the scenes represented upon the monuments. The 
life of an Egyptian noble, at once a royal official and 
a landed proprietor, with much to manage " in the 
field " (ver. 5) as well as in his house, is graphically 
sketched. The one garment of the slave is casually 
indicated by the expression, so often repeated, " he 
left Jiis garment in her hand." The extraordinary 
dependence placed upon " overseers," or stewards, 
who had the entire management of the household, the 
accounts, and the farm or estate — a very peculiar 
feature of Egyptian life — is set forth with great force. 
But, besides these isolated points, the whole narrative 
receives most curious illustration from one of the tales 
most popular among the Egyptians, which has fortu- 
nately descended to our day. In the story of " The 
Two Brothers," written by the illustrious scribe Anna, 
or Enna, for the delectation of Seti II., when heir- 
apparent to the throne, we have a narrative which 
contains a passage so nearly parallel to this portion of 
Joseph's history, that it seems worth v/hile quoting it 
in extenso. 

" There were two brothers," says the writer, " children 
of one mother and of one father — the name of the 

^ Herod, ii. 1 1 1 ; Diod. Sic. i. 59. 


elder was Anepu, the name of the younger Bata. 
Anepu had a house and a wife; and his younger 
brother was like a son to him. He it was who pro- 
vided Anepu with clothes, he it was who attended 
upon his cattle, he who managed the ploughing, he 
who did all the labours of the fields ; indeed, his 
younger brother was so good a labourer, that there 
was not his equal in the whole land. 

" And when the days had multiplied after this, it 
was the wont of the younger brother to be with the 
cattle day by day, and to take them home to the 
house every evening ; he came laden with all the herbs 
of the field. The elder brother sat with his wife, and 
ate and drank, while the younger was in the stable 
with the cattle. The younger, when the day dawned, 
rose before his elder brother, took bread to the field, 
and called the labourers together to eat bread in the 
field. Then he followed after his cattle, and they told 
him where all the best grasses grew, for he understood 
all that they said ; and he took them to the place 
where was the goodly herbage which they desired. 
And the cattle which he followed after became exceed- 
ingly beautiful. And they multiplied exceedingly. 

" Now when the time for ploughing came his elder 
brother said to him, * Let us take our teams for 
ploughing, because the land has now made its appear- 
ance \i. e., the inundation has subsided], and the time 
is excellent for ploughing it. Come thou then with 
the seed, and we shall accomplish the ploughing.' 
Thus he spake. And the younger brother proceeded 


to do all that his elder brother told him ; and when 
the day dawned they went to the field with their 
[teams ?], and worked at their tillage, and enjoyed 
themselves exceedingly at their work. 

" But when the days were multiplied after this, they 
were in the field together, and the elder brother sent 
the younger, saying, ' Go and fetch seed for us from 
the village.' And the younger brother found the wife 
of the elder one sitting at her toilet ; and he said to 
her, * Arise, and give me seed, that I may go back 
with it to the field, because my elder brother wishes 
me to return without any delay.' And she said to 
him, * Go, open the bin, and take, thyself, as much as 
thou wilt, since my hair would fall by the way.' So 
the youth entered the stable, and took a large vessel, 
for he wished to take back a great deal of seed ; and he 
loaded himself with grain, and went out with it. And 
she said to him, * How much have you [on your arm] ? ' 
And he answered, * Two measures of barley, and three 
measures of wheat — in all, I have five measures on my 
arm.' Then she spake to him saying, * What great 
strength is there in thee ! Indeed, I notice thy vigour 
every day ' . . . Then she seized upon him, and said 
to him, * Come and let us lie down for an instant' . . . 
The youth became as a panther with fury, on account 
of the shameful words which she had addressed to 
him. And she herself was alarmed exceedingly. He 
spake to her, saying, ' Verily, I have looked upon thee 
in the light of a mother, and on thy husband in the 
lio-ht of a father. What great abomination is this 


which thou hast mentioned to me ! Do not repeat it 
again, and I will not speak of it to any one. Verily, 
I will not permit a word of it to escape my mouth to 
any man.' 

" He took up his load, and went forth to the field. 
He rejoined his elder brother, and they accomplished 
the task of their labour. And when the time of 
evening arrived, the elder brother returned to his 
house. His younger brother [tarried] behind his 
cattle, laden with all the things of the field. He drove 
his cattle before him, that they might lie down in their 

" Behold, the wife of the elder brother was alarmed 
at the discourse which she had held. She made her- 
self as one who has suffered violence from a man ; for 
she designed to say to her husband, ' It is thy younger 
brother who has done me violence.' 

" Her husband returned home at evening, according 
to his daily wont. He came to his house, and he 
found his wife lying as if murdered by a ruffian. She 
did not pour water on his hands, according to her 
wont ; she did not light the lamp before him ; his 
house was in darkness. She was lying there, all uncov- 
ered. Her husband said to her, * Who is it that has 
been conversing with thee?' She replied, * No one has 
been conversing with me except thy younger brother. 
When he came to fetch seed for thee he found me 
sitting alone, and he said to me, " Come and let us lie 
down for an instant." That is what he said to me. 
But I did not listen to him. " Behold, am I not thy 


mother ; and thy elder brother, is he not as a father to 
thee ? " — that is what I said to him. Then he became 
alarmed, and did me violence, that I might not be able 
to report the matter to thee. But if thou lettest him 
live, I shall kill myself . . . Then the elder brother 
became like a panther; he made his dagger sharp, and 
took it in his hand. And he put himself behind the 
door of his stable, in order to kill his younger brother, 
when he returned at even to bring the cattle to their 
stalls." ^ 

It is unnecessary to pursue the story further. 
Anepu is bent on killing his brother, but is prevented. 
Potiphar, with a moderation which seems to argue 
some distrust of his wife's story, is content to imprison 
Joseph. Innocence in both cases suffers, and then 
triumphs ; but the triumph in the Egyptian tale is 
effected by repeated metempsychosis, and therefore 
diverges altogether from the Mosaic history. Still, it 
is conceivable that the Egyptian novel, written several 
centuries after Joseph's death, was based upon some 
traditional knowledge of the ordeal through which he 
had passed unscathed, and the ultimate glory to which 
he had attained as ruler of Egypt.^ 

^ See " Records of the Past," vol. ii., pp. 139-142. 
* Bata, after his many transmigrations, is finally reborn as the child 
of an Egyptian princess, and rules Egypt for thirty years (Ibid., p. 151). 



The history of Joseph in Egypt after he was thrown 
into prison by Potiphar, which occupies the last eleven 
chapters of Genesis, is delivered to us at too great 
length to be conveniently made the subject of illustra- 
tion by means of comment on a series of passages. 
We propose therefore to view it in the mass, as a 
picture of Egypt at a certain period of its history, to 
be determined by chronological considerations, and 
then to inquire how far the portraiture given corres- 
ponds to what is known to us of the Egypt of that 
time from profane sources. 

The time of Joseph's visit to Egypt is variously 
given by chronologers. Archbishop Usher, whose 
dates are followed in the margin of the English Bible, 
as published by authority, regards him as having 
resided in the country from B.C. 1729 to B.C. 1635. 
Most other chronologers place his sojourn earlier : 
Stuart Poole ^ from B.C. 1867 to B.C. 1772; Glinton^ 
from B.C. 1862 to B.C. 1770; Hales ^ from B.C. 1886 to 

^ "Dictionary of the Bible," vol. i., p. 508. 
^ " Fasti Hellenici," vol. i., pp. 300, 320. 
' " Ancient Chronology," vol. i., p. 104, et seq. 


B.C. 1792. Even the latest of these dates would make 
his arrival anterior to the commencement of the New 
Empire, which was certainly not earlier than B.C. 1 700. 
If we add to this the statement of George the Syncel- 
lus/ that all writers agreed in making him the prime 
minister of one of the shepherd kings, we seem to 
have sufficient grounds for the belief that the Egypt 
of his time was that of the Middle Empire or Hyksos, 
an Asiatic people who held Egypt in subjection for 
some centuries before the great rising under Aahmes, 
which re-established a native dynasty upon the old 
throne of the Pharaohs. 

Does then the Egypt of the later chapters of 
Genesis correspond to this time ? It has been argued 
that it does not, because, on the whole, it is so like the 
Egypt of other times. We have the king depicted in 
all his state, with his signet ring upon his finger (Gen. 
xli. 42), with chariots to ride in (ib. 43), and gold 
chains to give away, possessed of a " chief butler " 
and a "chief baker" (ch. xl. 9, 16), able to imprison 
and execute whom he will (ib. 3, 22), with "magicians" 
and " wise men " for counsellors (ch. xli. 8), rich in 
flocks and herds (ch. xlvii. 6), despotic over the people 
(ch. xli. 34; xlvii. 21), with no fear or regard for any 
class of his subjects but the priests (ch. xlvii. 22, 26). 
We have the priests as a distinctly privileged class, 
supported by . the monarch in a time of famine, 
possessed of lands, and not compelled to cede to the 
king any right over their lands. We have mention of 
1 <* Chrpnggraphia," p. 62, B. 


the " priest of On," or Heliopolis, as a magnate of the 
first class, with whom Joseph did not disdain to ally 
himself after he had become grand vizier, and was the 
next person in the kingdom to the king (ch. xli. 45, 
50). We have the Egyptian contempt for foreigners 
noted in the statement that " the Egyptians might not 
eat bread with the Hebrews " (ch. xliii. 32), and their 
special aversion to herdsmen touched on in the obser- 
vation that " every shepherd is an abomination unto 
the Egyptians " (ch. xlvi. 34). We see agriculture the 
main occupation of the people, yet pasturing of cattle 
carried on upon a large scale in the Delta (ch. xlvii. i- 
6). We find embalming practised, and a special class 
of embalmers (ch. 1. 2) ; and it appears that embalmed 
bodies are placed within coffins (ib. 26). Chariots and 
horses are tolerably common, for when Joseph goes 
from Egypt to Canaan to bury his father, there goes 
up with him " a very great company, both chariots 
&nd horsemen " (ib. 9), while " horses," no less than 
cattle and asses, are among the domesticated animals 
exchanged by the Egyptians generally for corn (ch. 
xlvii. 17). But, though horses are in use among the 
people, especially the official classes and the rich, asses 
are still the main beasts of burden, and are alone 
employed in the conveyance of commodities between 
Egypt and Canaan (ch. xlv. 23). Wheeled vehicles 
are known, and are used for the conveyance of women 
and children (ib. 19-21). Such are the leading features 
of the Egypt depicted by the writer of Genesis in 
these chapters. The description is said to be too 


thoroughly Egyptian to be a true representation of a 
time when a foreign dynasty was in possession, and the 
nation was groaning under the yoke of a conqueror.^ 

The general answer to this objection seems to be 
that, as so often happens when a race of superior is 
overpowered by one of inferior civilization, the con- 
querors rapidly assimilated themselves in most respects 
to the conquered, affected their customs, and even to 
some extent adopted their prejudices. M. Chabas 
remarks that the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, after a 
time became ''Egyptianised."^ ''The science and the 
usages of Egypt introduced themselves among them. 
They surrounded themselves with learned men, built 
temples, encouraged statuary, while at the same time 
they inscribed their own names on the statues of the 
Old Empire, which were still standing, in the place of 
those of the Pharaohs who had erected them. It is 
this period of civilization which alone has left us the 
sphinxes, the statues, and the inscriptions which recall 
the art of Egypt ; the manners of the foreign con- 
querors had by this time been sensibly softened."^ 
And again, "Apepi, the last shepherd king, was an 
enlightened prince, who maintained a college of men 
skilled in sacred lore, after the example of the 
Pharaohs of every age, and submitted all matters of 
importance to them for examination before he formed 
any decision.""* The Pharaoh of Joseph, according to 

^ Canon Cook in the " Speaker's Commentary," vol. i., p. 449. 
2 " Les Pasteurs en Egypte," p. 30. ^ Ibid., p. 33. 

* Ibid., p. 31. Bnigsch and Lenormant take the same view. 


the Syncellus/ was this very Apepi, the last shep- 
herd king, the predecessor of the Aahmes, who, 
after a long and severe struggle, expelled the Hyksos, 
and re-established in Egypt the rule of a native 

Thus, it was to have been expected that, if Joseph 
lived under Apepi, or indeed under any one of the 
later shepherd kings, a description of the Egypt of his 
day would greatly resemble any true description of 
that country either in earlier or later times, and 
possess but few distinctive features. Still sojne such 
distinctive features might have been expected to show 
themselves, and it must be our object now to inquire, 
first, what they would be ; and secondly, how far, if at 
all, they appear in the narrative. 

First, then, what distinctive features would there be 
separating and marking off the Second Empire from 
the First, the Hyksos rule from that of the old 
Pharaohs who built the Pyramids, set up the first 
obelisks, and accomplished the great works in the 
Fayoum ? In the first place, their residence would be 
different. The pyramid kings lived at Memphis, 
above the apex of the Delta, in the (comparatively 
speaking) narrow valley of the Nile, before the river 
enters on the broad tract which it must have gradually 
formed by its own deposits. The great monarchs of 
the obelisk and Fayoum period — those assigned by 
Manetho to his eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth 
dynasties — lived at Thebes, more than three hundred 
^ " Chronographia," p. 62, B. 


miles further up the course of the Nile, in a region 
from which the Delta could only be reached by a 
lengthy and toilsome journey along the river bank, or 
by a voyage down its channel. The Hyksos mon- 
archs, on the other hand, fixed their residence in the 
Delta itself; they selected Tanis — an ancient Egyptian 
town of considerable importance — for the main seat 
of their court.^ While maintaining a great fortified 
camp at Avaris, on their eastern frontier, where they 
lived sometimes, they still more favoured the quiet 
Egyptian city on the Tanitic branch of the Nile, where 
they could pass their time away from the sound of 
arms, amid ancient temples and sanctuaries dedicated 
to various Egyptian gods, which they allowed to 
stand, if they did not even use them for their own 
worship. The Delta had never previously been the 
residence of Egyptian kings, and it did not again 
become their residence until the time of the nineteenth 
dynasty, shortly before the Exodus. 

A second peculiarity of the Hyksos period, belong- 
ing especially to its later portion, is to be found in 
the religious views professed, proclaimed, and enjoined 
upon subject princes. Apepi, according to the MS. 
known as "the First Sallier papyrus," made a great 
movement in Lower Egypt in favour of monotheism. 
Whereas previously the shepherd kings had allowed 
among their subjects, if they had not even practised 
themselves, the worship of a multitude of gods, Apepi 
"took to himself" a single god ''for lord, refusing to 
^Brugsch, "History of Egypt," vol. i., pp. 236-7, ist edition. 


serve any other god in the whole land."^ According 
to the Egyptian writer of the M S., the name under 
which he worshipped his god was " Sutech " ; and 
some critics have supposed that he chose this god out 
of the existing Egyptian Pantheon, because he was 
the god of the North, where his own dominion espe- 
cially lay.^ But Sutech, though undoubtedly he had 
a place in the Egyptian Pantheon from very ancient 
times,^ seems to have been essentially an Asiatic god, 
the special deity of the Hittite nation,^ with which 
there is reason to believe that the shepherd kings were 
closely connected. Apepi, moved by a monotheistic 
impulse, selected Sutech, we should suppose, rather 
out of his own gods than out of the Egyptian deities, 
and determined that, whatever had been the case pre- 
viously, henceforth he would renounce polytheism, and 
worship one only lord and god, the god long known 
to his nation, and to his own ancestors,^ under the 
name above mentioned. There is reason to believe 
that he did not identify him with the Egyptian god, 
Set, or Sutech, but rather with some form or other of 
the Egyptian sun-god, or else with their sun-gods 
generally, since he appointed sacrifice to be made to 
Sutech, " with all the rites that are performed in the 
temple of Ra-Harmachis,"*^ who was one of these 

1 See " Records of the Past," vol. viii., p. 3. 
^Chabas, " Les Pasteuis en Egypte," p. 35. 
" 3 Mariette, " Lettre a M. le Vicomte de Rouge," in the Revue Archeo- 
log! que, vol. v., p. 303. 

* " Records of the Past," vol. iv., p. 31. ^Ibid., p. 36. 

^Ibid., vol. viii., p. 3. 


gods, and required the vassal king of Thebes, Ra- 
Sekenen, to neglect the worship of all the other gods 
honoured in his part of Egypt, excepting Ammon- 
Ra, who was another of them. Sutech, among the 
Hittites, seems to have been equivalent to Baal, and 
was certainly a sun-god,^ probably identified with the 
material sun itself, but viewed as having also a spiritual 
nature, and as the creator and sustainer of the universe. 
Apepi's great temple of Sutech at Tanis was the 
natural outcome of his exclusive worship of this god, 
and showed forth in a tangible and conspicuous form 
the earnestness of his piety. 

Among the changes in manners and customs belong- 
ing to the Middle Empire, there is one which cannot 
be gainsaid — the introduction of the horse. The 
horse, which is wholly absent from the remains, 
written or sculptured, of the Old Empire, appears as 
well known and constantly employed in the very 
earliest records of the New, and must consequently 
have made its appearance in the interval. Hence it 
has been argued by those best acquainted with the 
ancient remains that the military successes of the 
Hyksos, and especially their conquest of Egypt, were 
probably the result to a considerable extent of their 
invading the country with a chariot force and with 
cavalry at a time when the Egyptians fought wholly 
on foot. Neither horses nor chariots, nor even 
carts, were known under the Pharaohs of the Old 
Empire; they were employed largely from the very 
1 " Records of the Past," vol. iv., p. 28, par. 8. 


beginning of the New Empire, the change having 
been effected by the empire which occupied the inter- 
vening space. 

Before proceeding further, let us consider how these 
characteristics suit the Egypt of Joseph. First, then, 
the indications of Genesis, though not very precise, 
decidedly favour the view that the king is residing in 
the Delta. He receives in person the brethren of 
Joseph on their arrival in the land, and even has an 
interview with the aged Jacob himself (Gen. xlvii. 7- 
10), whom his son would certainly not have presented 
to him if the court had not been near at hand. 
Goshen, the eastern portion of the Delta, is chosen 
for the residence of the family, especially because, 
dwelling there, they will be " near to Joseph " (ch. xlv. 
10), who must have been in constant attendance on 
the monarch. " All the servants of Pharaoh, the 
elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of 
Egypt" (ch. 1. 7) would scarcely have accompanied 
the body of Jacob to the cave of Machpelah unless 
the court had been residing in Lower Egypt. Bishop 
Harold Browne, who writes as a common-sense critic, 
and not as an Egyptologist, well observes, "Joseph 
placed his brethren naturally on the confines of Egypt 
nearest to Palestine, and yet near himself. It is prob- 
able that Memphis or Tanis was then the metropolis of 
Egyptr^ But both before and after the shepherd 
kings the capital for many hundred years was Thebes. 

Secondly, there are indications in the later chapters 

* "Speaker's Commentary," vol. i., p. 215. 


of Genesis that the Pharaoh of the time was a mono- 
theist. Not only does he make no protest against the 
pronounced monotheism of Joseph (ch. xh. 16, 25, 
32), as Nebuchadnezzar does against that of Shadrach, 
Meshach, and Abed-nego, when he draws the con- 
clusion from their escape that "no other god can 
deliver after this sort;' but he uses himself the most 
decidedly monotheistic language when he says to his 
nobles, " Can we find such a one as this is — a man in 
whom the Spirit of God is ? " (ib. 38), and again when 
he addresses Joseph as follows : " Forasmuch as God 
hath shozved thee all this, there is none so discreet and 
wise as thou art " (ib. 39). No such distinct recogni- 
tion of the unity of God is ascribed either to the 
Pharaoh of the Old Empire who received Abraham 
(ch. xii. 1 5-20), or to those of the New Empire who 
came into contact with Moses (Exod. i-xiv.). 

The contrast between the Egypt of Abraham's time 
and that of the time of Joseph in respect of horses has 
often been noticed. As the absence of horses from 
the list of the presents made to Abraham (ch. xii. 16) 
indicates with sufficient clearness the time of the Old 
Empire, so the mention of horses, chariots, and 
wagons in connection with Joseph (ch. xii. 43 ; xlvi. 
29; xlvii. 17; 1. 9) makes his time either that of the 
Middle Empire or of the New. The fact that the 
possession of horses does not seem to be as yet very 
common points to the Middle Empire as the more 
probable of the two. 

Certain leading features, moreover, of the narrative, 



which have been reckoned among its main difficulties, 
either cease to be difficulties at all, or are reduced to 
comparative insignificance, if, in accordance with tra- 
dition and with the most probable chronology, we 
regard Joseph as the minister of a shepherd king. 

The native Egyptian monarchs had an extreme jeal- 
ousy of their Eastern neighbours. The East was the 
quarter from which Egypt lay most open to invasion, 
and from the later times of the Old Empire down to 
the twentieth dynasty in the New there was continual 
fear, when a native dynasty sat upon the throne, lest 
immigrants from these parts should by degrees filch 
away from Egypt the possession of the Delta. Small 
bodies of Asiatics, like those who came with Abraham, 
or the thirty-seven Amu under Abusha,* might occa- 
sionally be received with favour, to sojourn or to dwell 
in the land ; but larger settlements would have been 
very distasteful. An early king of the twelfth dynasty 
built a wall " to keep off the Sakti," as the Asiatics of 
these parts were called,^ and such powerful monarchs 
as Seti I. and Rameses 11. followed his example. The 
only kings who were friendly to the Asiatics, and likely 
to receive a large body of settlers with favour, were 
the Hyksos, Asiatics themselves, whom every such 
settlement strengthened against the revolt, which 
always threatened, of their Egyptian subjects. Now 
the family and dependants of Jacob were a large body 
of settlers. Abraham had three hundred and eighteen 

^Biugsch, "History of Egypt," vol. i., p. 157. 
''■ " Records of the Past," vol. vi., p. 135. 


adult male servants born in his house (Gen. xiv. 14). 
Jacob's attendants, when he returned from serving 
Laban, formed '* two bands" (Gen. xxxii. 10), literally 
"two armies." The number of those who entered 
Egypt with Jacob has been reasonably calculated at 
" several thousands." ^ To place such a body of 
foreigners " in the best of the land " (ch. xlvii. 6, 11), 
on the eastern frontier, where they could readily give 
admission to others, is what no king of either the Old 
or the New Empire would have been likely to have 
done ; but it is exactly what might have been expected 
of one of the Hyksos. 

Again, the sudden elevation of a foreigner from the 
slave condition to the second place in the kingdom, 
the putting him above all the Egyptians and making 
them bow down to him (ch. xli. 43), and the giving 
him in marriage the daughter of the high-priest of 
Heliopolis (ib. 45), though perhaps within the pre- 
rogative of any Egyptian king, who, as a god upon 
earth, — " son of the Sun," — could do no wrong, are 
yet exceedingly unlikely things, if Egypt were in its 
normal condition. It is far from paralleled by the 
"story of Saneha," even if that story is a true one, 
and not a novelette; for Saneha's rise is very gradual; 
he is a courtier in his youth; he commits an offence, 
and flies to a foreign land, where he passes the greater 
part of his life ; it is not until he is an old man that 
his pardon reaches him, and he returns, and is restored 
to favour ; nor does he rise even then to a rank at all 
1 Kurtz, " History of the Old Covenant," vo]. ii., p. 149, E. T. 



equal to that of Joseph.^ Joseph's history would have 
been " incredible " if Egypt had never had foreign 
rulers.^ But a Hyksos monarch would be trammelled 
by none of the feelings or restraints natural to an 
Egyptian. A foreigner himself, he would be glad to 
advance a foreigner, would not be very careful of 
offending a high-priest, and would feel more confidence 
in committing important affairs to a stranger wholly, 
dependent upon himself than to a native who might 
at any time turn traitor. 

Our limits will not allow us to treat this point at 
greater length. It is necessary, however, before con- 
cluding this chapter, to notice briefly two objections 
which Genesis is supposed to offer to the traditional 
view of Joseph's place in Egyptian history. The first 
is the designation of Goshen in one passage (ch. xlvii. 
ii) as "the land of Rameses." Now Rameses is a 
name which first appears in Egypt under the New 
Empire, and a " land of Rameses " is not likely to 
have existed until there had been a monarch of the 
name, which first happened under the nineteenth 
dynasty. But it is quite possible, as Bishop Harold 
Browne suggests, that the writer of Genesis may have 
used the phrase, " land of Rameses," by anticipation,^ 
to designate the tract so called in his day. This 
would be merely as if a modern writer were to say 
that the Romans under Julius Caesar invaded England, 

* " Records of the Past," vol. vi., pp. 135-150. 

2 Stuart Poole in Smith's " Diet, of the Bible," vol, i., p. 509. 

*" Speaker's Commentary," vol. i., p. 221. . 


or that Pontius Pilate, when recalled from Judaea, was 
banished to France. 

The other objection is drawn from the statement 
that in Joseph's time " every shepherd was an abomi- 
nation to the Egyptians " (ch. xlvi. 34). This is said 
to be "quite conclusive" against the view that the 
Pharaoh of Joseph was a shepherd king.^ But it is 
admitted that the prejudice was anterior to the invasion 
of the Hyksos, and appears on the monuments of the 
Old Empire. It would certainly not have been 
lessened by the Hyksos conquest, nor can the shep- 
herd kings be supposed to have been ignorant of it. 
If it was a caste prejudice, it would have been quite 
beyond their power to put down ; and nothing would 
have been left for them but to bear with it, and make 
the best of it. This is what they seem to have done. 
When men of the nomadic races were feasted at the 
Hyksos court, they were feasted separately from the 
Egyptians (ch. xliii. 32) ; and when a nomad tribe had 
to be located on Egyptian territory, it was placed in a 
position which brought it as little as possible into con- 
tact with the natives. Pharaoh had already put his 
own herdsmen in Goshen (ch. xlvii. 6), with the view 
of isolating them. In planting the Israelite settlers 
there, he did but follow the same principle. Like a 
wise ruler, he arranged to keep apart those diverse 
elements in the population of his country which were 
sure not to amalgamate. 

*" Speaker's Commentary," vol. i., p. 449, note t^t^. 



" Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not 
Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the 
children of Israel are more and mightier than we ; come on, let us deal 
wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass that, when there 
falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against 
us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over 
them taskmasters, to afflict them with their burdens. And they built 
for Pharaoh treasure-cities, Pithom and Raamses." — ExoD. i. 8-19. 

The question of the period of Egyptian history into 

which the severe oppression of the IsraeHtes, and their 

"exodus" from Egypt, are to be regarded as faUing, is 

one of no Httle interest, and at the same time of no 

Httle difficulty. In the last chapter we saw reason for 

accepting the view that the Pharaoh whom Joseph 

served was Apepi, the last king of the seventeenth 

(shepherd) dynasty. In order, however, to obtain 

from this fact any guidance as to the dynasty, and still 

more as to the kings, under whom the events took 

place which are related in the first section of the Book 

of Exodus (chs. i.-xiv.), we have to determine, first of 

all, what was the length of the Egyptian sojourn. But 

here we find ourselves in the jaws of a great contro- 


versy. Taking the Authorised Version as our sole 
guide, we should indeed think the matter plain 
enough, for there we are told (ch. xii. 40, 41), that 
" the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt 
in Egypt, was /<??/r hundred and thirty years; and it 
came to pass at the end of the four Jiundred and thirty 
years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all 
the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of 
Egypt." If we consult the Hebrew original, the plain- 
ness and certainty seems increased, for there we find 
that the words run thus : — " The sojourning of the 
children of Israel, zuhieh they sojourned in Egypt, was 
four hundred and thirty years,'' which seems to leave 
no loophole of escape from the conclusion that the 
four hundred and thirty years mentioned are those of 
Israel's stay in Egypt. And it is quite admitted that 
thus far — if this were all the evidence — there could be 
no controversy upon the subject. Doubt arises from 
the fact that in the two most ancient versions of Exodus 
that we possess the passage runs differently. We read 
in the Septuagint, " The sojourning of the children of 
Israel, which they sojourned in Egypt and in the land 
of Canaan, was four hundred and thirty years;" and 
in the Samaritan version, " The sojourning of the 
children of Israel a?id of their fatJiers, which they 
sojourned in the land of Canaaji and in Egypt, was 
four hundred and thirty years." Nor is this the whole. 
St. Paul, it is observed, writing to the Galatians (ch. iii. 
17), makes the giving of the law from Mount Sinai 
" four hundred and thirty years after," not the going 


down into Egypt, but the entering into covenant with 
Abraham. And it is further argued that the genealo- 
gies for the time of the stay in Egypt are incompatible 
with the long period of four hundred and thirty years, 
and require the cutting down of the time to the 
dimensions implied by the Septuagint and Samaritan 
translations. This time is two hundred and fifteen 
years, or exactly half the other, since it was two 
hundred and fifteen years fi-om the promise made to 
Abraham until the entering of the Israelites into 

Now, if the Exodus was but two hundred and 
fifteen years after any date in the reign of Apepi, it 
must have fallen within the period assigned by Mane- 
tho and the monuments to the eighteenth dynasty. 
But if we are to substitute four hundred and thirty 
years for two hundred and fifteen, it must have 
belonged rather to the later part of the nineteenth. 
Let us consider, therefore, whether on the whole the 
weight of argument is in favour of the shorter or the 
longer term of years. 

First, then, with regard to the versions. The 
Hebrew text must always be considered of paramount 
authority, unless there is reason to suspect that it has 
been tampered with. But, in this case, there is no 
such reason. Had the clause inserted by the LXX. 
existed in the Hebrew original, there is no assignable 
ground on which we can imagine it left out. There 
is, on the other hand, a readily conceivable ground for 
the insertion of the clause by the LXX. in their 



anxiety to harmonise their chronology with the 
Egyptian system prevalent in their day. Further, the 
clause has the appearance of an insertion, being irrele- 
vant to the narrative, which is naturally concerned at 
this point with Egypt, and with Egypt only. The 
Samaritan version may appear at first sight to lend the 
Septuagint confirmation ; but a little examination shows 
the contrary. The Samaritan translator has the Sep- 
tuagint before him, but is dissatisfied with the way in 
which his Greek predecessor has amended the Hebrew 
text. His version is an amendment of the Greek text 
in two points. First, he sees that the name " children 
of Is7'ael'' could not properly be given to any but the 
descendants of Jacob, and therefore he inserts the 
clause " and of their fathers." Secondly, he observes 
that the LXX. have inverted the historical order of 
the sojourns in Egypt and in Canaan, placing that 
in Egypt first. This he corrects by a transposition. 
No one can suppose that he derived his emendations 
from the Hebrew. He evolved them from his inner 
consciousness. He gave his readers, not what Moses 
had said, but what, in his opinion, he ought to 
have said. 

Secondly, with respect to St. Paul's statement to the 
Galatians, it is to be borne in mind that he wrote to 
Greek-speaking Jews, whose only Bible was the Sep- 
tuagint Version, and that he could not but follow it 
unless he was prepared to intrude on them a chrono- 
logical discussion, which would in no way have 
advanced his argument. His argument is that the 


law, having been given long after the covenant made 
with Abraham, could not disannul it; how long after 
was of no consequence, whether four hundred and 
thirty or six hundred and forty-five years. 

Thirdly, the genealogies of the period, as given in 
the Pentateuch, contain undoubtedly no more than six 
names — in fact,' vary between four and six — which 
taken by itself, is doubtless an argument for the 
shorter period. But {a) the Jews constantly abbrevi- 
ated genealogies by the omission of a portion of the 
names (Ezra vii. 1-5; Matt.i. 2-16; comp. i Chron. 
ix. 4-19 with Neh. xi. 4-22); and (J?) there is one 
genealogy belonging to the period, given in i Chron. 
vii. 22-27, that of Joshua, which contains ten names. 
The Hebrews, at this portion of their history, and 
indeed to a considerably later date, reckoned a gene- 
ration at forty years, so that the ten generations from 
Jacob to Joshua, who was fully grown up at the time 
of the Exodus (Exod. xvii. 9-13), would cover four 
hundred years, or not improbably a little more. 

Another argument in favour of the longer date is 
derivable from the terms of the announcement made 
to Abraham with respect to the Egyptian servitude: — 
" Know of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger 
in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and 
they shall afflict them four hundred years ; and also 
that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and 
afterward shall they come out with great substance " 
(Gen. XV. 13, 14). In this prophecy but one land is 
spoken of, and but one people ; this people is to afflict 


Israel for four hundred years ; it is then to be judged; 
and, after the judgment, Israel is to ''come out," to 
come out, moreover, with great substance. Nothing 
is said that can by any possibility allude to the 
Canaanites, or the land of Canaan. One continuous 
affliction in one country, and by one people, lasting — 
in round numbers — four hundred years, is announced 
with the utmost plainness. 

But the crowning argument of all, which ought to 
be regarded as completely settling the question, is that 
derivable from the numbers of the Israelites on enter- 
ing and on quitting Egypt. Their numbers, indeed, 
on entering, cannot be definitely fixed, since they went 
down to Egypt " with their households " (Exod. i. i), 
and these, to judge by that of Abraham (Gen. xiv. 14), 
were very numerous. Still no writer has supposed 
that altogether the settlers exceeded more than a few 
— say two or three — thousands.^ On quitting Egypt, 
they were, at the lowest estimate, two millions. What 
time, then, is required, under favourable circumstances, 
for the expansion of a body (say) of two thousand 
persons into one a thousand times that number ? 

There are writers who have argued that population 
may double itself in the space of fifteen, nay, in that 
of thirteen years.^ But I know of no proved instance 
of the kind where there has not been a large influx 

1 Kurtz ("History of the Old Covenant," vol. ii., p. 149) uses the 
vague expression, "several thousands." Dean Payne Smith, in his 
" Bampton Lectures" (p. 89), suggests three thousand. 

2 Clinton, "Fasti Hellenici," vol. i., p. 294. 


through immigration. No increase, or, at any rate, no 
important increase, of the Israelites in Egypt can be 
assigned to this cause. They multiplied, as is dis- 
tinctly implied in the narrative, in the ordinary way, 
without foreign accretion. It is reasonable, therefore, 
to apply to them Mr. Malthus's law for the natural 
increase of population by descent under favourable 
circumstances. Now this is a doubling of the popula- 
tion, not every thirteen, or every fifteen, but every 
twenty-five years.^ By this law two thousand persons 
would, in two hundred and fifteen years, have multi- 
plied to the extent, not of two millions, but of less 
than one million. The law, moreover, only acts where 
population is scanty, where the sanitary circumstances 
are favourable, and where the means of subsistence 
are wholesome, and readily obtained. Long before 
the time that the Israelites reached a quarter of a 
million, most of the artificial checks which tend to 
keep down the natural increase of population would 
have begun to operate among them. The territory 
assigned them was not a very large one, and they were 
not its sole inhabitants (Gen. xlvii. 6 ; Exod. iii. 22, 
xii. 31-36). It would soon be pretty densely peopled. 
The tasks in which they were employed by their 
Egyptian lords, from the time that the severe oppres- 
sion began (Exod. i. 13, 14), could not be favourable 
to health. They were no doubt sufficiently well fed, 
as slaves usually are, but not on a very wholesome 

^ " Essay on Population," vol. i., p 8 ; " Encyclopoedia Britannica," 
vol. xviii., p. 340. 


dietary (Num. xi. 5). The rate of increase would 
naturally fall under these circumstances, and it may 
ere long have taken them fifty years to double their 
numbers, which is about the rate now existing among 
ourselves. Supposing them to have been two thousand 
at the first, and to have doubled their numbers at the 
end of the first twenty-five years, but to have required 
five years longer for each successive duplication until 
the full term of fifty years was reached, it would have 
taken them four hundred and twenty-five years to 
reach the amount of two millions. 

Altogether it is perfectly clear that an increase 
which is abnormal, and requires some explanation, if 
it be regarded as occupying the space of four hundred 
and thirty years, must be most unlikely, if not impos- 
sible, to have occurred in half that time. 

If then we take four hundred and thirty years from 
the early part of Apepi's reign, and follow the line of 
the Egyptian kings, as we find it in Manetho, or in the 
monuments, we are carried on beyond the time of the 
eighteenth dynasty into that of the nineteenth, and 
have to look for the monarchs mentioned in Exodus 
among those who reigned in Egypt between the close 
of the eighteenth dynasty and the commencement of 
the twentieth. 

Before proceeding, however, with this inquiry, it 
seems natural to ask, Is there no tradition with respect 
to the time of the Exodus in Egyptian history, as we 
found that there was with respect to the time of 
Joseph ; and if there is any such tradition, what is it ? 


The Egyptian tradition was delivered at great length 
by Manetho, whose account is preserved to us in 
Josephus.^ It was also reported more briefly by 
Chaeremon.^ It placed the Exodus in the reign of an 
" Amenophis," who was the son of a " Rameses," and 
the father of a " Sethos." Each of these two facts 
belong to one "Amenophis" only out of the four or 
five in Manetho's lists, and we have thus a double 
certainty that he intended the monarch of the nine- 
teenth dynasty, who was the son and successor of 
Rameses II., commonly called " Rameses the Great," 
and was himself succeeded on the throne by his son, 
Seti-Menephthah, or Seti II., about B.C. 1300, or a 
little earlier. There is no other Egyptian tradition, 
excepting one reported by George the Syncellus,^ 
which is wholly incompatible with the universally 
allowed synchronism of Joseph with Apepi, and quite 
unworthy of consideration ; viz., that the Exodus took 
place under Amasis (Aahmes), the first king of the 
eighteenth dynasty, who was probably contemporary 
with the later years of Joseph himself 

Manetho's tradition then, harmonising, as it does, 
with the chronological considerations above adduced, 
which would place the Exodus towards the end of the 
nineteenth dynasty, seems to deserve our acceptance, 
and indeed has been accepted by the great bulk of 
modern Egyptologists, as by Brugsch, Birch, Lenor- 

' Joseph., " Conti-a Apion.," i. ^ 26. 

2 Ibid., ^32. 

* " Chronographia," p. 62, B. 


mant, Chabas, and others.^ Allowing it, we are able 
to fix definitely on the three Pharaohs especially- 
concerned in the severe oppression of the Israelites, 
and thus to give a vividness and realism to our 
conception of the period of history treated of in 
Exod. i.-xiv. which add greatly to the interest of the 

If Menephthah L, the son and successor of Rameses 
II., was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, it follows neces- 
sarily that his father, the great Rameses, was the king 
of Exod. ii., from whom Moses fled, and after whose 
death he was directed to quit Midian and return into 
Egypt for the purpose of delivering his brethren (ch. 
ii. 23 ; iv. 19). But as Moses was eighty years old at 
this time (ch. vii. 7), it is evident that the Pharaoh 
from whom he fled cannot be the same with the one 
who, more than eighty years previously, gave the 
order for the destruction of the Hebrew male children 
(ch. i. 22). The narrative of Exodus must speak of 
three Pharaohs, of the first in ch. i., of the second in 
ch. ii., and of the third in chs. v.-xiv. If the second 
of these is Rameses II., the father of Menephthah L, 
the first must be Seti I., the father of Rameses II. 

Now, it happens that Seti I. and Rameses 1 1, are 
among the most distinguished of all the Egyptian 
monarchs, great warriors, great builders, setters-up of 

I See Brugsch, " History of Egypt," vol. ii., p. 125 ; Birch, " Egypt 
from the Earliest Times," p. 133; Lenoniiant, "Manuel d'Histoire 
Ancienne de I'Orient," vol. ii., p. 292, edition of 1882; Chabas, " Re- 
cherches pour servir a I'histoire de la Xix^e Dynastie," p. 157. 


numerous inscriptions. We know them almost better 
than any other Egyptian kings, are famihar with their 
very countenances, have ample means of forming an 
estimate of their characters from their own words. 
Seti I. may well be the " new king, which knew not 
Joseph." He was the second king of a new dynasty, 
unconnected with either of the dynasties with which 
Joseph had been contemporary. He came to the 
throne at the time when a new danger to Egypt had 
sprung up on the north-eastern frontier, and when 
consequently it was natural that fear should be felt 
by the Egyptian ruler lest, " when any war fell out, 
the people of Israel should join unto Egypt's enemies, 
and fight against the Egyptians, and so get them up 
out of the land" (ver. lo). The Hittites had become 
masters of Syria, and were dominant over the whole 
region from Mount Taurus to Philistia. " Scarcely 
was Seti settled upon the throne, when he found 
himself menaced on the north-east by a formidable 
combination of Semitic with Turanian races, which 
boded ill for the tranquillity of his kingdom."^ He 
was occupied in a war with them for some years. At 
its close he engaged in the construction, or reparation, 
of a great wall for the defence of the eastern frontier. 
It would be natural that, in connection with this wall, 
and as a part of his general system for the protection 
of the frontier, he should build "treasure-cities" (ver. 
ii), or more properly "store-cities," i.e., arsenals and 
magazines. That he should name one of these after 

* Rawlinson, " History of Ancient Egypt," vol. ii., p. 287. 


a god whom he was in the habit of honouring/ and 
the other after his father, or after his son, whom he 
early associated, is not surprising. The ardour for 
building which characterised him would account for 
his employing the Israelites so largely " in mortar, 
and in brick " (ver. 14), and in the construction of 
edifices. The severity of his oppression is quite in 
accordance with the cruelty which he exhibited in 
his wars, and of which he boasts in his inscriptions.^ 

Rameses II. was associated on the throne by his 
father when he was ten or eleven years of age. The 
two kings then reigned conjointly for about twenty 
years. Rameses outlived his father forty-seven years, 
and probably had the real direction of the government 
for about sixty years. There is no other reign in the 
New Empire which reaches nearly to the length of 
his. He was less of a warrior than his father, and 
more of a builder. Among his principal works was 
the completion of the city of Rameses (Pi-Ramesu), 
begun by his father, and made by Rameses the resi- 
dence of the court, and one of the chief cities of the 
empire. He appears also to have completed Pithom 
(Pi-Tum), and to have entirely built many other 
important towns. All his works were raised by 
means of forced labour ; and for the purpose of their 
construction he required an enormous mass of human 
material, which had to be constantly employed under 
taskmasters in the most severe and exhausting toil, 

^ Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," p. 119. 
2" History of Ancient Egypt," vol, ii., pp. 288-291. 


under a burning sun, and with few sanitary precau- 
tions. M. Lenormant says of him and his " great 
works''^: — " Ce n'est qu'avec un veritable sentiment 
d'horreur que Ton pent songer aux milliers de captifs 
qui durent mourir sous le baton des gardes-chiourmes, 
ou bien victimes des fatigues excessives et des priva- 
tions de toute nature, en elevant en qualite de for9ats 
les gigantesques constructions auxquelles se plaisait 
I'insatiable orgueil du monarque egyptien. Dans les 
monuments du regne de Ramses il n'y a pas une 
pierre, pour ainsi dire, qui n'ait coiate une vie 
humaine." Such was the character of the monarch 
under whom the Israelites are said to have " sighed 
by reason of their bondage," and to have " cried " 
so that " their cry came up to God by reason of their 
bondage; and God heard their groaning, and God 
remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, 
and with Jacob ; and God looked upon the children 
of Israel, and God had respect unto them " (Exod. ii. 


Besides his suitability in character to be the Pharaoh 
who continued the severe oppression begun by Seti I., 
Rameses IL, by the great length of his reign, exactly 
fits into the requirements of the Biblical narrative. 
That narrative requires for its second Pharaoh a king 
Avho reigned at least forty years, probably longer. 
The New Empire furnishes only three reigns of the 
necessary duration, — those of Thothmes III. (fifty-four 
years), Rameses IL (sixty-seven years), and Psamme- 

1" Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. i. 423. 


tichus I. (fifty-four years). Psammetichus, who reigned 
from B.C. 66j to 613, is greatly too late; Thothmes 
III. is very much too early ; Rameses 11. alone verges 
upon the time at which the severe oppression must 
necessarily be placed. It can scarcely be a coinci- 
dence that Egyptian tradition should point out Men- 
ephthah I. as the Pharaoh of the Exodus, and that, 
the Biblical narrative assigning to his predecessor an 
exceptionally long reign, the monuments and Manetho 
should agree in giving to that predecessor the excep- 
tionally long reign of sixty-six or sixty-seven years. 



The portraits of the first and second Pharaohs men- 
tioned in the Book of Exodus are only faintly and 
slightly sketched. That of the third monarch — " the 
Pharaoh of the Exodus," as he is commonly termed 
— is, on the contrary, presented to us with much clear- 
ness and distinctness, though without effort or con- 
scious elaboration. He is an oppressor as merciless 
as either of his predecessors, as deaf to pity, as deter- 
mined to crush the aspirations of the Hebrews by hard 
labour. To him belongs the ingenious device for 
aggravating suffering, which has passed into the pro- 
verbial phraseology of modern Europe, the require- 
ment of ''bricks without straw" (ch. v. 7-19). He 
disregards the afflictions of his own countrymen as 
completely as those of his foreign slaves, and continues 
fixed in his determination not to " let Israel go," until 
he suffers the loss of his own first-born (ch. xii. 29- 
32). When finally he has been induced to allow the 
Hebrews to withdraw themselves from his land, he 
suddenly repents of his concession, pursues after them, 

and seeks, not so much to prevent their escape, as to 


destroy them to the last man (ch. xv. 9). To this 
harshness and cruelty of temper he adds a remarkable 
weakness and vacillation — he will and he will not ; he 
makes promises and retracts them ; he " thrusts the 
Israelites out" (ch. xi. i; xii. 31), and then rushes 
after them at the head of all the troops that he can 
muster (ch. xiv. 5-9). Further — and this is most 
remarkable — unlike the generality of Egyptian mon- 
archs, he seems to be deficient in personal courage ; 
at any rate, there is no appearance of his having 
imperilled himself in the attack made on the Israelites 
at the Red Sea, — " the Egyptians pursued, and went 
in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's 
horses, his chariots, and his horsemen" (ch. xiv. 23); 
but not, so far as appears, Pharaoh himself This, 
indeed, has been disputed, and Ps. cxxxvi. 15 has been 
quoted as a positive proof to the contrary ; ^ but the 
expression of a poet who wrote some centuries after 
the event would be very weak evidence with respect 
to the fact, besides which his statement is, not that the 
Pharaoh was killed, but that he was " overthrown." 
Neither the narrative in Exod. xiv. nor the song of 
rejoicing in the following chapter contains the slightest 
allusion to the Pharaoh's death, an omission almost 
inconceivable if he really perished with his warriors.^ 
Further, the Pharaoh of the Exodus seems to have 

1 Canon Cook in the "Speaker's Commentary," vol. i., p. 309. 

2 That the Pharaoh did not perish is maintained by Wilkinson 
(" Ancient Egyptians," vol. i., p. 54), Chabas (" Recherches pour servir 
a I'histoire de I'Egypte," pp. 152, l6i), Lenormant ("Manuel d'Histoire 
Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 292, edition of 1883), and others. 



been grossly and abnormally superstitious, one who 
put real trust in magicians and sorcerers, and turned 
to them in times of difficulty rather than to statesmen 
and persons of experience in affairs. 

What, then, does profane history tell us of the 
Menephthah whom we have shown to be at once the 
traditional " Pharaoh of the Exodus " and the king 
pointed out by chronological considerations as the 
ruler of Egypt at the period ? M. Lenormant begins 
his account of him by observing,^ " Moreover, he was 
neither a soldier nor an administrator, but one whose 
mind was turned almost exclusively towards the 
chimeras of sorcery and magic, resembling in this 
respect his brother, Kha-m-uas." '' The Book of 
Exodus," he adds, " is in the most exact agreement 
with historical truth when it depicts him as sur- 
rounded by priest-magicians, with whom Moses 
contends in working prodigies, in order to affect the 
mind of the Pharaoh."^ 

Later on in his history of Menephthah, M. Lenor- 
mant has the following passage.^ He is describing 
the great invasion of Libyans and others which 
Menephthah repulsed in his fifth year. " The bar- 
barians advanced without meeting any serious resist- 
ance. The terrified population either fled before them, 
or made its submission, but attempted nothing like a 
struggle. Already had the invading army reached 

1" Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 281 (edition of 1883). 

2 Ibid. 

3 Ibid., p. 289. Compare " Records of the Past," vol. iv., pp. 41-44' 


the neighbourhood of Pa-ari-sheps, the Prosopis of 
the Greeks ; On (HeliopoHs) and Man-nofri (Memphis) 
were seriously threatened. Menephthah assembled 
his army in front of these two towns, in order to cover 
them; he drew from Asia a number of mercenaries, 
to supply the lack of Egyptian soldiers of sufficient 
experience ; at the same time he fortified the banks of 
the middle branch of the Nile, to prevent the enemy 
from crossing it, and to place in safety, at any rate, 
the eastern half of the Delta. Sending forward in 
advance, first of all, his chariot-force and his light- 
armed auxiliaries, the Pharaoh promised to join the 
battle array with the bulk of his troops at the end of 
fourteen days. But he zvas not personally fond of 
actual fight, and disliked exposing himself to the chance 
of defeat. An apparition of the god Phthah, which 
he saw in a dream, warned him that his lofty rank 
required him not to cross the river. He therefore sent 
his army to the combat under the command of some 
of his father's generals, who were still living." Two 
features of Menephthah's character, as represented in 
Scripture, are here illustrated : his want of personal 
courage and his habit of departing from his promises 
with or without a pretext. The apparition of the 
god Phthah in a dream is clearly a convenient fiction, 
by means of which he might at once conceal his 
cowardice and excuse the forfeiture of his word. 

The Egyptian monuments thus confirm three 
leading features in the character of Menephthah, — his 
superstitiousness, his want of courage, and his weak, 


shifty, false temper. They do not, however, furnish 
much indication of his cruelty. This is, perhaps, 
sufficiently accounted for by their scantiness. Men- 
ephthah is a king of whom it has been said ^ that he 
"belongs to the number of those monarchs whose 
memory has been with difficulty preserved by a few 
monuments of inferior value, and a few inscriptions of 
but little importance." We have, in fact, but one 
inscription of any considerable length belonging to 
his reign.^ It gives mainly an account of the Libyan 
war, in which he was not personally engaged. A tone 
of pride and arrogance common to the autobiographi- 
cal memoirs of Egyptian kings pervades it, but it 
contains few notices of any severities for which the 
monarch himself can be regarded as responsible. 
That he made slaves of the prisoners taken in the 
Libyan war^ merely shows that he acted like other 
monarchs of the time. He speaks, however, of 
having in a Cushite war " slaughtered the people, and 
set fire to them, and netted, as men net birds, the 
entire country."* This last expression reminds one 
of a cruel Persian practice, whereby whole popu- 
lations were exterminated, or reduced to slavery;^ the 
preceding one, if it is to be taken literally, implies a 
still more extreme and more unusual barbarity. 

* Brugsch, " Histoire d'Egypte," p. 175. 

2 This inscription will be found translated in " Records of the Past," 
vol. iv., pp. 39-48, and in M. Chabas' ** Recherches pour servir a 
I'histoire de I'Egypte," pp. 84-94. 

3 " Records of the Past," vol. iv,, p. 47, 1. 63. 

* Ibid., 1. 67. o Herod, iii. 149; vi. 31. 

NO TICES IN EX on US. 2 1 3 

It was not to be expected that the general series of 
events related in the first fourteen chapters of Exodus 
should obtain any direct mention in the historical 
records of Egypt. As M. Chabas remarks/ '* events 
of this kind were not entitled to be inscribed on the 
public monuments, where nothing was ever registered 
except successes and triumphs." The court historio- 
graphers would naturally refrain from all mention of 
the terrible plagues from which Egypt suffered during 
a whole year, as well as from any record of the disaster 
of the Red Sea ; and the monarch would certainly not 
inscribe any account of them upon his edifices. Still 
there are points of the narrative which admit of com- 
parison with the records of the time, and in which an 
agreement or disagreement with those records would 
almost of necessity show itself; and these it is pro- 
posed to consider in the remainder of this chapter. 
Such are (i) the employment of forced labour in 
Egypt at this period of its history, and the method of 
its employment ; (2) the inclusion, or non-inclusion, 
of the Hebrews among the forced labourers ; (3) the 
construction at the period of " store-cities," and the 
names of the cities ; (4) the military organization of 
the time ; (5) the untimely loss of a son by the king 
under whom the Exodus took place ; and (6) the 
existence or non-existence of any indication in the 
records of such exhaustion and weakness as might be 
expected to follow the events related in Exodus. 

The use of forced labour by the Egyptian monarchs 

^ " Recherches," etc., p. 152. 



of the time, especially by Seti I. and Rameses II., is 
abundantly witnessed to by the monuments. The 
kings speak of it as a matter of course ; the poets 
deplore it; the artists represent it. "It was the custom 
of the Egyptians to subject prisoners of war to this 
Hfe of forced labour. A tomb of the time of Thothmes 
III. has furnished pictures which represent Asiatic 
captives making bricks, and working at buildings under 
the rod of task-masters — pictures which are a figured 
commentary on the verses of Exodus (ch. i. 11-14) 
which we have just cited. But under Rameses II. the 
unprecedented development of architectural works 
rendered the fatigues to which such wretches were 
exposed far more overwhelming." ^ Gangs of labourers 
were placed under the charge of an overseer armed with 
a stick, which he applied freely to their naked backs 
and shoulders on the slightest provocation. A certain 
definite amount of task-work was required every day 
of each labourer. Some worked at brick-making, 
some at stone-cutting, some at dragging blocks from 
the quarries, some at erecting edifices. Food was 
provided by the Government, and appears not to have 
been insufficient ; but the hard work, and the exposure 
to the burning sun of Egypt, were exhausting in the 
extreme, and rendered their life a burden to those 
condemned to pass it in this sort of employ. 

Whether the monuments indicate, or do not indi- 
cate, the inclusion of the Hebrews among the forced 

^ Lenormant, "Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 269, edition 
of 1883. 


labourers of this period depends on our acceptance or 
non-acceptance of a suggested identification.^ Are 
we, or are we not, to regard the Hebrews as the same 
people with the Aperu or Apuriu ? In favour of the 
identification, there is, in the first place, the close 
resemblance of the words. M. Chabas, indeed, over- 
states the case when he says^ that the Egyptian 
Aperu is ''the exact transcription of the Hebrew n^j;." 
It is not so really, since the exact transcription would 
be " Aberu " ; but it is a very near approach to an 
exact transcription. It falls short of exactness merely 
by the substitution of a / for a b, the two letters being 
closely cognate, and the ear of the Egyptians for 
foreign sounds not very accurate. In the next place, 
it is found that Rameses II. employs the Aperu in the 
building of his city of Rameses (Pa-Ramesu), which 
is exactly one of the works ascribed to the Hebrews 
in Exodus (ch. i. 11). Further, we must either accept 
the identity of the Hebrews with the Aperu, or we must 
suppose that the kings of this period had in their 
service at this time two sets of forced labourers quite 
unconnected, yet with names almost exactly alike. 
Against the identification, almost the sole point that 
can be urged, is the fact that Aperu are found still to 
be employed by the Egyptian kings after the Exodus 
is a thing of the past, as by Rameses III. and Rameses 

^ On this identification, see Chabas, " Recherches pour servir i I'his- 
toire de lEgypte," pp. 142-150-, "Melanges Eg>^ptologiques," 2™^ 
Serie, p. 108, et seq. 

2 " Recherches," p. 142. 


IV. But this objection seems to be sufficiently met 
by M. Chabas. " It is quite certain that, spread as the 
text of Scripture declares that they were over the 
whole of Egypt, the Hebrews could not by any possi- 
bility respond universally to the appeal of Moses ; 
perhaps some of them did not even wish to do so. 
Such was doubtless the case with those [Aperu] whom 
we find enrolled in regiments in the reigns of Rameses 
III. and Rameses IV." ^ 

The construction of " store-cities " at the required 
period has received recent illustration of the most 
remarkable kind. The explorers employed by the 
" Egypt Exploration Fund " have uncovered at Tel-el- 
Maskoutah, near Tel-el-Kebir, an ancient city, which 
the inscriptions found on the spot show to have been 
built, in part at any rate, by Rameses II., and which is 
of so peculiar a construction as to suggest at once to 
those engaged in the work the idea that it was built 
for a " store-city." ^ The town is altogether a square, 
enclosed by a brick wall twenty-two feet thick, and 
measuring six hundred and fifty feet along each side. 
The area contained within the wall is estimated at 
about ten acres. Nearly the whole of this space is 
occupied by solidly built square chambers, divided 
one from the other by brick walls from eight to ten 
feet thick, which are unpierced by window or door, or 

' " Recherches," p. 163. 
• ''■ See an article in the British Quarterly Revini) for July, 1883, pp. 
IIO-I15 ; and compare the letters on the same subject in the Academy 
for February 24th, March 3d and 17th, and April 7th of the same 


opening of any kind. About ten feet from the bottom 
the walls show a row of recesses for beams, in some 
of which decayed wood still remains, indicating that 
the buildings were two-storied, having a lower room, 
which could only be entered by means of a trap-door, 
used probably as a storehouse or magazine, and an 
upper one, in which the keeper of the store may have 
had his abode. Thus far the discovery is simply that 
of a " store-city," built partly by Rameses II. ; but it 
further appears, from several short inscriptions, that 
the name of the city was Pa-Tum, or Pithom; and 
there is thus no reasonable doubt that one of the two 
cities built by the Israelites has been laid bare, and 
answers completely to the description given of it. 
Of the twin city, Rameses, the remains have not yet 
been identified. We know, however, from the inscrip- 
tions, that it was in the immediate vicinity of Tanis, 
and that it was built perhaps in part by Seti I., but 
mainly by his son Rameses II. 

It lends additional interest to the discovery of 
Pithom that the city is found to be built almost 
entirely of brick. It was in brick-making that the 
Israelites are said in the Book of Exodus (ch. i. 14; 
V. 7-19) to have been principally employed. They are 
also said to have been occupied to some extent " in 
mortar" (ch. i. 14); and the bricks of the store- 
chambers of Pithom are " laid with mortar in regular 
tiers." ^ They made their bricks " with straw " until 
no straw was given them, when they were reduced to 

1 British Qitarterly Review, July 1883, p. no. 


straits (ch. v. 7-19)- It is in accordance with this 
part of the narrative, and sheds some additional Hght 
upon it, to find that the bricks of the Pithom 
chambers, while generally containing a certain amount 
of straw, are in some instances destitute of it. The 
king's cruelty forced the Israelites to produce in some 
cases an inferior article. 

The military organization of the Egyptians at the 
time of the Exodus is represented as very complete. 
The king is able, almost at a moment's warning, to 
take the field with a force of six hundred picked 
chariots, and numerous others of a more ordinary 
description, together with a considerable body of foot- 
men. It does not appear that he has any cavalry, for 
the word translated *' horsemen " in our version 
probably designates the riders in the chariots. Each 
squadron of thirty chariots is apparently under the 
command of a ** captain " (eh. xiv. 7). The entire 
force, large as it is, is ready to take the field in a 
few days, for otherwise the Israelites would have 
got beyond the Egyptian border before the Pharaoh 
could have overtaken them. It acts promptly and 
bravely, and only suffers disaster through circum- 
stances of an abnormal and indeed miraculous 
character. Now, it appears by the Egyptian monu- 
ments that the military system was brought to its 
highest perfection by Seti I. and Rameses II. It is 
certain that, in their time, the army was most carefully 
organized, divided into brigades,^ and maintained in a 
^ " Records of the Post," vol, ii., p. 68. 


State of constant preparation. The chariot force was 
regarded as of very much the highest importance, and 
amounted, according to the lowest computation, to 
several thousands. It is doubtful whether any cavalry 
was employed, none appearing on the monuments, 
and the word so translated by many writers^ being 
regarded by others as the proper designation of the 
troops who fought in chariots.^ Infantry, however, in 
large well-disciplined bodies, always attended and 
supported the chariot force. Under Menephthah the 
system of his father and grandfather was still main- 
tained, though no longer in full vigour. He required 
a fortnight to collect sufficient troops to meet the 
Libyan invasion.^ He had then, however, to meet an 
army of trained soldiers, and had no need to hasten, 
since he occupied a strong position. Under the 
circumstances of the Exodus, it was necessary to be 
more prompt, and sufficient to collect a much smaller 
arrny. This he appears to have been able to do at 
the end of a few days. 

It was scarcely to be expected that the Egyptian 
records would present any evidence on the subject of 
Menephthah's loss of a son by an untimely death. 
Curiously, however, it does happen that a monument, 

1 As generally in the " Records of the Past," and by M. Chabas in 
his " Recherches pour servdr," etc., pp. 85, 88, 89, etc. 

2M. Lenormant almost always replaces the "cavalry" of other trans- 
lators by the expression '' des chars'' ("Manuel d'llistoire Ancienne," 
vol. ii./pp. 255, 256, etc.). He observes in one place, "The military 
education of the Egyptians did not include teaching men to ride, since 
they fought in chariots." 

3 " Records of the Past," vol. iv., p. 43. 


at present in the Berlin Museum, contains a proof of 
his having suffered such a loss.^ There is no descrip- 
tion of the circumstances, but a mere indication of the 
bare fact. The confirmation thus lent to the Scriptural 
narrative is slight ; but it has a value in a case where 
the entire force of the evidence consists in its being 

Three results would naturally follow on the occur- 
rence of such circumstances as those recorded in 
Exodus. Egypt would be for a time weakened in a 
military point of view, and her glory, as a conquering 
power, would suffer temporary eclipse. The royal 
authority would be shaken, and encouragement 
afforded to the pretensions of any rival claimants 
of the throne. The loss of six hundred thousand 
labourers would bring to an end the period of the 
construction of great works, or, at the least, greatly 
check their rapid multiplication. Now this is exactly 
what all historians of Egypt agree to have been the 
general condition of things in Egypt in the later years 
of Menephthah and the period immediately following. 
Military expeditions cease until the time of Rameses 
III., a space of nearly forty years. The later years of 
Menephthah are disturbed by the rise of a pretender, 
Ammon-mes, who disputes the throne with his son, 
and, according to Manetho,^ occupies it for five years. 
Seti II., or Seti-Menephthah, has then a short reign ; 
but another claimant is brought forward by a high 

* Brugsch, " Histoire d'Egypte," p. 175. 
^ Ap. Syncell., " Chronographia," p. 72, C. 


official, and established in his place. Soon afterwards 
complete anarchy sets in, and continues for several 
years,^ till a certain Set-nekht is made king by the 
priests, and tranquillity once more restored. The 
construction of monuments during this period almost 
entirely ceases ; and when Rameses III. shows the 
desire to emulate the architectural glories of former 
kings, he is compelled to work on a much smaller 
scale, and to content himself with the erection of a 
comparatively few edifices. * 

1 See the " Great Harris Papyrus," translated by Dr. Eisenlohr in 
the "Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology," vol. i., p. 
359, et scq. 



" The children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth." — 
ExOD. xii. 37. 

" It came to pass, when Pharaoh ha,d let the people go, that God led 
them not [through] the way of the land of the Philistines, although 
that was near . . . But God led the people about [through] the way 
of the wilderness of the Red Sea . . . And they took their journey 
from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness," 
— ExOD. xiii. 17-20. 

" Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before 
Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-Zephou ; 
before it shall ye encamp by the sea."-^ExOD. xiv. 2. 

" These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth 
out of the land of Egypt with their amiies under the hand of Moses 
and Aaron. And Moses wrote their goings out according to their 
journeys by the commandment of the Lord : and these are their journeys 
according to their goings out. And they departed from Rameses in the 
first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month . . . And the 
children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth. 
And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in 
the edge of the wilderness. And they removed from Etham, and 
turned again unto Pi-hahiroth, which is before Baal-Zephon : and they 
pitched before Migdol. And they departed from before Pi-hahiroth, 
.and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went 
three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah. 
And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim . . . And they re- 
moved from Elim, and encamped by the Red Sea." — Numb, xxxiii. i-io. 


Although the geographical problems connected with 
the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt cannot be 
said to be as yet completely solved, yet the course 
of modern research has shed considerable light upon 
the route followed by the flying people, and the posi- 
tion of their various resting-places. The results 
arrived at may be regarded as tolerably assured, since 
they have not been reached without very searching 
criticism and the suggestion of many rival hypotheses. 
The boldest of these, started in the year 1874 by one 
of the first of modern Egyptologists, Dr. Brugsch,^ 
for a time shook to its foundation the fabric of earlier 
belief. The authority of its propounder was great, his 
acquaintance with the ancient geography of Egypt 
unrivalled, and his argument conducted with extreme 
skill and ingenuity ; it was not to be wondered at, 
therefore, that his views obtained for a time very 
general credence. But researches conducted subse- 
quently to the enunciation of his views, partly with 
the object of testing them, partly without any such 
object, have shown his theory to be untenable^; and 
opinion has recently reverted to the old channel, 
having gained by the discussion some additional 
precision and definiteness. We propose in the present 

^ The views of Dr. Brugsch were first propounded at the Interna- 
tional Congress of Orientalists, held in 1874. They were afterwards 
published in the English translation of his " History of Egypt," London, 

2 See Mr. Greville Chester's papers in the " Quarterly Statements " 
of the Palestine Exploration Fund, July, 1880, and April, 1881 ; and 
Mr. Stanley Poole's paper in the British Quarterly Review for July, 


chapter to consider the Exodus geographically, and 
to trace, as distinctly as possible, the "journeys" of 
the Israelites from their start on the day following the 
destruction of the first-born to their entrance on the 
" wilderness of Etham " after their passage of the Red 

The point of departure Is clearly stated both in 
Exodus (ch. xii. 37), and in Numbers (ch. xxxiii. 3, 5) 
to have been " Rameses.". What does this mean ? 
We hear in Scripture both of a " land of Rameses " 
(Gen. xlvii. 1 1), and of a city " Raamses," or Rameses. 
It is not disputed that these two words are the same ; 
nor does it seem to be seriously doubted that the land 
received its name from the town. From which, then, 
are we to understand that the Israelites made their 
start? It has been argued strongly that " the land" 
is intended;^ and with this contention we are so far 
agreed, that we should not suppose any general gather- 
ing of the people to the city of Rameses, but a move- 
ment from all parts of the land of Rameses or Goshen 
to the general muster at Succoth. Succoth seems to 
us to have been the first rendezvous. But a portion 
of the Israelites, and that the leading and guiding 
portion, started probably from the town. Menephthah 
resided at Pa-Ramesu, a suburb of Tanis. Moses and 
Aaron held communication with him during the night, 
after the first-born were slain. They must, therefore, 
have been in the town or in its immediate neighbour- 
hood. They received permission to depart (Exod. xii. 

iSee Dr. Trumbull's " Kadesh-Barnea" (New York, 1884), p. 382. 


31), and, as soon as morning broke, they set off 
with the other IsraeUtes of the neighbourhood. It is 
this start from the town of Ram*eses which the histo- 
rian has in his eye ; he needs a definite terminus a quo, 
from which to begin his account of the journeying 
(Numb, xxxiii. 5), and he finds it in this city, the seat 
of the court at the time. Rameses was in lat. 31°, 
long. 32°, nearly, towards the north-eastern corner of 
Egypt, about thirty miles almost due west of Pelu- 
sium, from which, however, it was separated by a great 
marshy tract, the modern Lake Menzaleh, which in 
long. 32° 20' penetrates deep into the country, and 
renders a march to the south-east necessary in order 
to reach the eastern frontier of Egypt. The rendez- 
vous must, consequently, have been appointed for 
some place in this direction ; and it is in this direction 
that we must seek it. 

This place is termed both in Exodus (ch. xii. 37 ; 
xiii. 20) and in Numbers (ch. xxxiii. 5,6)'' Succoth " 
— i.e., ''Tents" or "Booths" — an equivalent of the 
Greek I/.rfmi^ which is often used as a geographical 
designation. It has been proposed to identify Suc- 
coth with an Egyptian district called " Thuku " or 
"Thukut,"^ and more recently with the newly-discov- 
ered town of Pithom^ (Tel-el-Maskouteh). There is 
no evidence, however, that Pithom was ever called 
Succoth, nor would Tel-el-Maskouteh have been a 

^Brugsch, "History of Egypt," translated by Philip Smith, 2d edit., 

p. 370-4- 

2 Stanley Poole in the British Quarterly Review, July^ 1883, p. 1 1 3. 


convenient rendezvous for two millions of persons, 
with their flocks and herds. The Wady Toumilat 
offers but a thin thread of verdure along the line of 
the fresh-water canal, and though a convenient route 
for those who came from the more southern part of 
the " land of Goshen," would have been very much 
out of the way for such as started from the more 
northern portion, as from Tanis, or from the town of 
Goshen (Qosem) itself But the district of Thukut, if 
it lay where Dr. Trumbull places it,^ north and north- 
west of Lake Timseh, would be a very convenient 
place for a general muster, affording a wide space and 
abundant pasture in the spring-time, and easily reached 
both from south-west and north-west — -in the one case 
by the Wady Toumilat, in the other by way of Tel- 
Dafneh and the western shore of Lake Ballah. This 
position for Thukut seems indeed to be definitely fixed 
by the discoveiy of the ruins of Pithom, the capital 
of Thukut, at Tel-el-Maskouteh, combined with the 
statement in an Eg}^ptian text,^ that Thukut was a 
region just within the Egyptian frontier, suited for 
grazing, and in the vicinity of some lakes. Dr. 
Brugsch's location of it on the southern shores of 
Lake Menzaleh became impossible from the moment 
that Tel-el-Maskouteh was proved to mark the site of 

It may, perhaps, be objected to the location of 
Succoth on the north and west of Lake Timseh, that 

^See " Kadesh-Barnea," pp. 392-5, 

2 Brugsch, " History of Eg\'pt," vol ii., p. 133, 


the distance is thirty-five miles from Rameses (Tanis), 
and therefore could not have been traversed in a day. 
But nothing is said in Exodus, or elsewhere in Scrip- 
ture, with respect to the length of time occupied by 
the journey between any two of the stations men- 
tioned, except in one instance, when the time occupied 
was *' three days " (Exod. xv. 22 ; Numb, xxxiii. 8). 
It took a month for the multitude to reach the wilder- 
ness of Sin from their starting-point (Exod. xii. 18; 
xvi. i) ; during this time we have only six stations 
mentioned ; it took above a fortnight for them to move 
from the wilderness of Sin to the plain before Sinai 
(ch. xvi. i; xix. i); along this route are mentioned 
only three stations (Numb, xxxiii. 1 2-1 5). Thus there 
is every reason for supposing that the journey from 
station to station occupied, in most cases, several days. 
The children of Israel " took their journey from 
Succoth and encamped in Etham," or " at Etham, in 
the edge of the wilderness " (Exod. xiii. 20). No 
name resembling Etham is to be found in the geograph- 
ical nomenclature of Egypt, either native or classical. 
Hence it is suspected that the word is rather a 
common appellation than a proper name. " Khetam " 
in Egyptian meant " fortress " ; and various khetaniu 
are mentioned in the inscriptions — one near Pelusium, 
called the " khetam of Zor '.' ; another near Tanis ; a 
third, called the "khetam of King Menephthah," 
within the region of Thukot.^ The eastern frontier 

1 Trumbull, "Kadesh-Barnea," p. 329; Brugsch, " History of Egypt," 
vol. ii., p. 380. 


was, in fact, guarded by a series of such fortresses, 
perhaps connected together by a wall or rampart ; and 
especially the routes out of Egypt were thus guarded 
and watched. It was probably to one of these 
"khetams" — that which guarded the way out of 
Egypt, known to the Hebrews as the " way of Shur " 
(Gen. xvi. 7) — that the march of the Israelites was 
directed from Succoth. The khetam lay *' in the edge 
of the wilderness," and may perhaps be identified with 
that of King Menephthah. It was probably not far 
from the Bir Makdal of the maps, situated about ten 
miles east of the Suez Canal, east by north of Ismailia. 
The multitude must have supposed that they were 
now about to enter the wilderness. They were ** in its 
edge." Their leaders had doubtless brought with 
them the king's permission to pass the frontier fortress. 
The expectation must have been that on the morrow 
they would quit Egypt for ever. But here God inter- 
posed. Had the Israelites passed out of Egypt at this 
point, the march would naturally have been across the 
desert some way south of Lake Serbonis to the Wady 
El Arish, and thence along the coast of the Mediter- 
ranean to Gaza and the low tract of the Shefeleh. But 
the nation was not yet in a fit condition to meet and 
contend with the war-like people of that rich and 
valuable region — the Philistines. God accordingly, 
who guided the march by the pillar of the cloud and 
of fire (ch. xiii. 21, 22), " led them not the way of the 
land of the Philistines, although that was near ; for 
God said, Lest the people repent when they see war, 


and return to Egypt : but God led the people about, 
the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea" (ib. 17, 
18). Moreover, a direction was given through Moses 
to the people, " that they turn and encamp before Pi- 
hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against 
Baal-Zephon " (ch. xiv. 2). It is clear that at this 
point the direction of the march was changed ; and so 
far all are agreed. But was the " turn " towards the 
left or towards the right ? Was the " sea " by which 
they were commanded to encamp the Mediterranean 
or the Red Sea ? 

It is the main point of Dr. Brugsch's theory that he 
holds "the sea" to have been the Mediterranean. He 
professes to find in this direction a Migdol, a Pi- 
hahiroth, and a Baal-Zephon. The Migdol is twenty 
miles from the Pi-hahiroth, and the Pi-hahiroth twenty- 
five from the Baal-Zephon, which is thus forty-five 
from the Migdol, for the three are nearly in a straight 
line. The Pi-hahiroth and the Baal-Zephon are not 
visible the one from the other.^ Still, though these 
particulars of distance and position ill accord with the 
expressions used in Exod. xiv. 2 and Numb, xxxiii. 7, 
which imply proximity and the being within view, it 
would have been a most curious circumstance had 
there been on this side of the Isthmus of Suez, and 
also on the opposite one, three places similarly named 
within a moderate distance of each other. But on 
examination it appears that only one of the three 

1 Mr. Greville Chester in the " Quarterly Statement of the Palestine 
Exploration Fund," July, i88o, p. 154, note. 


names is attached to any locality on the north side of 
the Isthmus otherwise than by conjecture. Dr. 
Brugsch does not profess to have found in the remains 
of ancient Egypt any place called Pi-hahiroth or any 
called Baal-Zephon. He finds in Egyptian a word 
khirot, signifying "gulfs," and he finds in Diodorus a 
mention that there were ftdpadpa, " pits," at the western 
end of Lake Serbonis. Out of these two facts he 
constructs an Egyptian Pi-khirot,^ which he thinks 
may have been the original of the Pi-hahiroth of the 
Hebrews. Baal-Zephon he finds only mentioned in 
Egyptian documents as a God, — he conjectures his 
identity with Zeus Kasios, — and upon this pure con- 
jecture locates his temple where one stood, erected to 
Zeus Kasios, in post-Alexandrine times. If we put 
aside these two mere conjectures, there remains only a 
Migdol, which has a proved existence in these parts, 
though its exact emplacement is uncertain. 

Migdol, however, is a generic term, meaning "a 
watch-tower." There are likely to have been many 
" Migdols " on the eastern frontier of Egypt, and it is 
maintained^ that there are traces of at least three. 
One of these, called by the Greeks Magdolos, was 
certainly towards the north, not far from Pelusium ; 
another, central, has left its name to Bir Makdal ; a 
third, towards the south, is represented by the existing 

• ^ " History of Egypt," vol, ii., p. 393. The real Egyptian original of 
Pi-hahiroth seems to have been " Pi-keheret," which is mentioned on a 
tablet of the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, found at Tel-el-Maskouteh. 
2 Trumbull, " Kadesh-Barnea," pp. 374-8. 


Muktala. This last may well be the Migdol of 

Dr. Brugsch's theory that Lake Serbonis is the true 
'' Yam Suph," or " Sea of Weeds," wrongly under- 
stood by the Septuagint translators as " the Red Sea," 
has been completely disposed of by Mr. Greville 
Chester, who shows, first, that Lake Serbonis is almost 
wholly devoid of vegetation, either marine or lacus- 
trine ; ^ secondly, that the spit of land between it and 
the Mediterranean is not continuous, but interrupted 
at the eastern extremity of the lake by a deep sea- 
channel ; ^ thirdly, that there is no isthmus opposite 
El Gelse dividing the lake into nearly equal portions,^ 
as Dr. Brugsch supposed ; and, fourthly, that the spit 
of land is above fifty miles long, and takes a lightly- 
equipped traveller three days to traverse,* instead of 
being passable in the course of a night. It may be 
added that, as the term " Yam Suph " is allowed by 
all, including Dr. Brugsch, to designate the Red Sea 
in Exod. xiii. 17 and Numb, xxxiii. 10, 11, it is incon- 
ceivable that the same writer should in the same 
narrative use it also of another far-distant sheet of 
water (Exod. xv. 4, 22). 

The propriety of the name " Yam Suph," as applied 
to the Red Sea, has been well illustrated by Dr. 
Trumbull.^ " Suph " in Hebrew means at once " sea- 

1 " Quarterly Statement " of Palestine Exploration Fund for July, 
1880, p. 155. 

=^Ibid., p. 157. 3 Ibid., p. 154. 

* Ibid., pp. 152-157. ^ " Kadesh-Barnea," pp. 353-356. 



weed" (Jonah ii. 5), and " rushes " or "sedge " (Exod. 
ii. 3, etc.). The Red Sea is famous for the number and 
variety of its marine growths. " Weeds and corals 
are to be seen in such profusion and beauty at many 
places along the shores of the Red Sea, and again 
below its surface, as disclosed at low water, as almost 
to have the appearance of groves and gardens." ^ 
Again, " the jiinciis aaitus, arundo (Egyptiaca, or 
arimdo Isaica, grows commonly on the shore of the 
Red Sea, so that at this day a bay of the same is 
called GJmbbet-el-biis, or * Reed Bay.' " ^ The observ- 
ing naturalist, Klunzinger, says that, " Where the soil 
of the desert along that coast is kept moist by lagoons 
of sea water, the eye is gladdened by spreading 
meadows of green verdure. The coast flora of the 
desert, which requires the saline vapour of the sea, is 
peculiar. A celebrated plant is the shora (Avicennia 
officinalis), which forms large dense groves in the sea, 
these being laid bare only at very low ebb. Ships are 
laden with its wood, which is used as fuel, and many 
camels live altogether on its laurel-like leaves." He 
divides, indeed, the shore line of the Red Sea into the 
** outer shore zone," or the reef line, and the " inner 
shore or sea-grass zone." Even in the outer shore 
zone there " flourish also in many inlets of the sea 
thickets of the laurel-like shora shrub," as above 
described ; and there are " sea-grass pools." In the 

* Laborde, "Voyage de I'Arabie Petree," p. 5. 

"^ Stickel, " Der Israeliten Auszug aus ^gypten " in " Studien und 
Kritiken" for 1850, p. 331. 


inner shore zone, " among the rocks, which are either 
bare or covered with a blackish and red mucilaginous 
sea-weed," there " grow green phanerogamous grasses 
of the family of the Naiadese." ^ 

But if the sea intended in the directions given to 
Moses (Exod. xiv. 2) was the Red Sea, Migdol, Pi- 
hahiroth, and Baal-Zephon must be sought towards 
the south ; and the ** turn " in the journey (ibid, and 
Numb, xxxiii. 7), of which we have spoken, must have 
been a turn to the right. It was to some extent a 
*' turning back,'' as the Hebrew word used implies, a 
*' return " into Egypt when the frontier had been 
reached, and might have been crossed. It looked 
like hesitation and doubt, like the commencement of 
an aimless, purposeless wandering. Hence the Pha- 
raoh took heart, and made preparations for a pursuit 
at the head of an army (ch. xiv. 3, 5-9). 

If the ''bitter lakes " were (as supposed by many^) 
connected at the time with the northern end of the 
Red Sea, as a marshy inlet, overflowed at high water, 
and Pi-hahiroth were near Muktala, the Israelites, to 
reach it, must have skirted the northern extremity of 
the lakes, and have proceeded southward along their 
western shores. A march of three days would bring 
them into the plain north-west of Suez, at the western 
edge of which the station Muktala (Migdol) is found. 
The Israelites *' encamped between Migdol and the 

1 Quoted from Dr. Trumbull's " Kadesh-Barnea," pp. 355-6. 

2 As Kurtz, Sharpe, Stanley Poole, Reginald Stuart Poole, Canon 
Cook, Lieutenant Conder, Burton, Villiers Stuart, Gratz, and others. 


sea," for which there would be abundant room, as the 
distance is above ten miles. They were " beside Pi- 
hahiroth and before Baal-Zephon " (ch. xiv. 9). These 
conditions would be sufficiently answered if Pi-hahiroth 
were at Ajrud, which is thought to retain a trace of 
the name,^ and Baal-Zephon were on the north-eastern 
flank of Jebel Atakah. Baal-Zephon is not necessarily 
a Phoenician name, for the Egyptians had adopted 
" Baal " as a god long before the time of Menephthah, 
and Zephon (Zapouna or Typhon) was altogether 
Egyptian. There is no proof beyond the notices in 
Exodus that he had a temple, or a town named after 
him, in this quarter ; but neither is there any proof of 
his having had one in any other part of Egypt. It 
has been argued that the position on Jebel Ataka 
would be one exactly adapted to such a god as Baal- 
Zephon;^ but we scarcely know enough of the Egyp- 
tian religion to be sure of this. We can only say that 
here, on the western coast of the Gulf of Suez, would 
be ample room for the encampment of the entire 
Israelitish host ; that in this position it might well 
seem that " the wilderness had shut them in " (ch. xiv. 
3) ; and that the host would be " before a Migdol " 
(Numb, xxxiii. 7), and perhaps " beside a Pi-hahiroth " 
(Exod. xiv. 9). The sea in front was but two or three 
miles across, and might easily have been passed in a 

^So Ebers (" Gosen zum Sinai," p. 526), Kurtz ("Hist, of Old 
Covenant," vol. ii., p. 323), Keil and Delitzsch (" Bibl. Comment." on 
Exod. xiv. 2), etc. 

2 Trumbull, " Kadesh-Barnea," p. 421. 


night ; the bottom was such as would naturally clog 
the Egyptian chariot wheels (ver. 25), and the further 
shore was destitute of springs, a true " wilderness " 
(ch. XV. 22), where the Israelites may well have gone 
** three days without water." 



In considering the Biblical notices of Egypt contained 
in the Book of Exodus, we have hitherto confined 
ourselves almost entirely to the main narrative, and 
indeed to such points of it as are capable of illus- 
tration from historical documents, monumental or 
literary. But the full force of the illustration which 
profane sources are capable of lending to the Scrip- 
tural account cannot be rightly estimated, unless we 
add to this some consideration of those various minor 
matters, incidentally touched upon, which constitute 
the entourage of the main narrative, and render it 
altogether so graphic and life-like. These touches 
must be either the natural utterances of one familiar 
with the country at the time, as Moses, the traditional 
author of Exodus, would have been, or the artful 
imitation of such utterances by a later writer, unfa- 
miliar with the time, and probably with the scene, 
drawing upon his imagination or his stock of anti- 
quarian knowledge. In the former case, a general 
agreement between the Biblical portraiture and the 
facts as otherwise known to us might be confidently 



looked for; in the latter, there would be sure to 
appear, on examination, repeated contradictions and 

It will be the object of the present chapter to show 
that there is a close accord between the Scriptural 
notices and the facts as otherwise known to us in 
respect of almost all the minor matters of which we 
have spoken. These may be summed up under the 
following principal heads : — (ci) the climate and pro- 
ductions of Egypt, (Jj) the dress and domestic habits 
of the people, (c) the ordinary food of the labouring 
classes, {d^ customs connected with farming and 
cattle-keeping, and (e) miscellaneous customs. 

The climate of Egypt is touched upon mainly in 
connection with the seventh plague, in ch. ix. We 
find there heavy rain (ver. 33), hail, thunder and 
lightning mentioned as occurring in early spring, and 
doing great damage to the crops. The particular 
visitation is spoken of as miraculous in coming at the 
command of Moses (ver. 23), and as extraordinary in 
its intensity (ver. 24), but not as a thing previously 
unknown. On the contrary, it is implied that similar 
visitations of less severity were not unusual. Objection 
has been taken to the narrative on this account ; and 
it has been represented as indicative of a great want 
of acquaintance with the climatic circumstances of the 
country, since rain and hail are, it has been said, 
unknown in Egypt. But the only ground for such a 
statement is the authority of the classical writers. 
Herodotus regarded rain in Upper Egypt as a 


prodigy/ and Mela goes so far as to call Egypt gener- 
ally "a land devoid of showers."^ But the observa- 
tion of modern travellers runs counter to such views,^ 
and supports the credit of the author of Exodus. In 
Upper Egypt, indeed, "very heavy rain is unusual, 
and happens only about once in ten years. Four or 
five showers fall there every year, after long intervals."^ 
But in Lower Egypt, rain is as common in winter as 
it is in the south of Europe. Storms of great severity 
occur occasionally, more especially in February and 
March, when snow, hail, thunder and lightning are not 
uncommon. The Rev. T. H. Tooke " describes a storm 
of extreme severity, which lasted twenty-four hours, 
in the middle of February,"^ as high up the valley as 
Beni-Hassan. Other travellers, as Seetzen and Will- 
mann, speak of storms of thunder and hail in March. 
" The ravines in the valley of the kings' tombs near 
Thebes, and the precautions taken in the oldest 
temples at Thebes to guard the roofs against rain by 
lions' mouths, or gutters, for letting off the water from 
them,"^ prove sufficiently that there was no great 
difference between ancient and modern times in 
respect of the rainfall of the Nile valley. 

^ Herod, iii. lo. 

2 Pomp. Mel., "De Situ Orbis," i. 9; *'^gyptus terra expers im- 

' See the passages collected by Hengstenberg, " Egypt and the Books 
of Moses," pp. 117, 118. 

* Wilkinson in Rawlinson's " Herodotus," vol. ii., p. 409, note 4. 
^"Speaker's Commentaiy," vol. i., p. 285. 

* Wilkinson, 1. s. c. Compare " Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., p. 426. 


Among the cultivated products of Egypt mentioned 
in Exodus, the principal are, wheat, barley, flax, and 
rye, or spelt (ix. 32), to which may be added from the 
Book of Numbers (xi. 5) cucumbers, melons, onions, 
garlick, and leeks. Grains of wheat have been found 
abundantly in the coffins containing mummies, and 
" mummy wheat " is said to have been raised from* 
such grains in various parts of Europe. The monu- 
ments, moreover, represent to us in numerous instan- 
ces the growth of wheat, the mode in which it was 
cut, bound into sheaves, or gathered into baskets, and 
threshed by the tread of cattle on a threshing-floor.^ 
Barley does not appear to be represented,^ but its 
growth is manifest. It is mentioned as the ordinary 
food of the Egyptian horses,^ and as one of the chief 
materials used in the making of bread.^ It was also 
largely employed in the manufacture of beer.^ Flax 
was likewise cultivated on an extensive scale to furnish 
the linen garments necessarily worn by the priests, and 
preferentially by others, and needed also for mummy- 
cloths, corselets, and various other uses. Spelt, like 
wheat, is represented on the monuments,^ and accord- 
ing to Herodotus, was the grain ordinarily consumed 
by the Egyptians,^ as is the doora — probably the same 
plant — at the present day. Herodotus also witnesses 

1 See Wilkinson, "Ancient Eg>^ptians," vol. ii., pp. 418-427. 

2 The Eg>'ptian wheat being bearded, it is not easy to say in some 
cases whether barley or wheat is represented. 

3 "Records of the Past," vol. ii., p. 75. "^Ibid., vol. viii., p. 44. 

5 Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., p. 42. 

6lbid., p. 427. 7 Herod, ii. 36. 


to the cultivation oi onions and of garlick/ while that 
of cucumbers is attested by their being frequently- 
figured in the tombs. The leeks of Egypt had the 
character of being superior to all others in the time 
of Pliny ,^ which would imply a long anterior cultiva- 
tion. Melons are among the most abundant of the 
modern products, but their growth in ancient times 
seems not to be distinctly attested. 

The abundant use of personal ornaments by the 
Egyptians, and especially of ornaments in silver and 
gold, implied in the direction given to the Israelites to 
** borrow " such things of their neighbours and lodgers 
before their departure from Egypt (ch. iii. 22), and in 
the " spoil " which they thus acquired (ch. xii. 36), is 
among the facts most copiously attested by the extant 
remains. Ornaments in gold and silver have been 
found in the tombs, not only of the great and opulent, 
but even of comparatively poor persons ; they were fre- 
quently worn by the men, and probably few women 
were without them. Among the articles obtained from 
the tombs are " rings, bracelets, armlets, necklaces, ear- 
rings, and numerous trinkets belonging to the toilet."^ 
Most of these articles were common to the two sexes ; 
but ear-rings were affected especially, if not exclu- 
sively, by the women. 

Egyptian men of the upper class carried, as a matter 
of course, "walking-sticks."^ Hence the "rod" of 

1 Herod., ii. 125. 2 pij^^ u jj. N." xix. t,-^. 

^Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., p. 236. 
* Ibid., vol. ii., p. 28 ; vol. iii., p. 447. 


Aaron was naturally brought into the presence of 
Pharaoh (ch. vii. 10); and the magicians had also 
"rods" in their hands (ib. ver. 12), which they ** cast 
down " before Pharaoh, as Aaron had cast his. These 
" rods," or rather " sticks," are continually represented 
on the monuments : no Egyptian lord is without one;^ 
at an entertainment there was an attendant whose 
especial duty it was to receive the sticks of the male 
guests on their arrival, and restore them at their 

The Egyptians employed " furnaces " (ch. ix. 8) for 
various purposes, " ovens " (ch. viii. 3) for the baking 
of their bread, " kneading-troughs " (ibid.) for the for- 
mation of the dough, and " hand-mills " (ch. xi. 5) for 
the grinding of the corn into flour. "Their mills," 
says Sir Gardner Wilkinson, " were of simple and rude 
construction. They consisted of two circular stones, 
nearly flat, the lower one fixed, while the other turned 
on a pivot, or shaft, rising from the centre of that 
beneath it; and the grain, descending through an 
aperture in the upper stone, immediately above the 
pivot, gradually underwent the process of grinding as 
it passed. It was turned by a woman, seated, and 
holding a handle fixed perpendiculai ly near the edge. 
. . . The stone of which the hand-mills were made 
was usually a hard grit."^ Sir Gardner adds in a note 

1 Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," p. 45 : " The Egyptian 
lord . . . carried a wand or walking-stick as a sign of dignity or 

2 Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. i., pi. xi., fig. lo. 

3 Ibid., vol. i., p. 359. 



that he draws these conclusions from the fragments of 
the old stones discovered among the ancient remains. 
The same writer witnesses to the use by the ancient 
Egyptians of furnaces, ovens, and kneading-troughs.^ 

One curious custom of an Egyptian household 
obtains incidental mention in the account of the first 
plague, viz., the storing of water in " vessels of wood 
and in vessels of stone " (ch. vii. 19). Water being 
exceedingly abundant in Egypt by reason of the Nile, 
with its numerous branches, natural and artificial, 
which conveyed the indispensable fluid almost to 
every house, " storing " would have been quite 
unnecessary but for one circumstance. The Nile 
water during the period of the inundation is turbid, 
and requires to be kept for a considerable time before 
it becomes palatable and fit for use by the muddy 
particles sinking gradually to the bottom, and leaving 
pure water at the top. To produce this effect, it has 
always been, and still is, usual to keep the Nile water 
in jars, or stone- troughs, until the sediment is deposited, 
and the fluid rendered fit for drinking.^ 

Another still more remarkable custom is brought 
under notice by the narrative in ch. i. " When ye do 
the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women," says 
the Pharaoh to Shiphrah and Puah, ''and see them upon 
the stools^ if it be a son, then ye shall kill him," etc. 
The incident is one which its delicate nature" unfits for 
representation, and the monuments thus fail to confirm 

* Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., pp. 34, 192. 

2 Ibid., vol. ii., p. 428. Compare Pococke, "Travels," vol. i., p. 312. 


it; but a modern practice, peculiar, so far as we know, 
to Egypt, is probably the direct descendant of the 
ancient one, and at any rate lends it illustration. 
" Two or three days before the expected time of 
delivery," says Mr. Lane, in his account of the manners 
and customs of the modern Egyptians, " the layah 
(midwife) conveys to the house the kiirsce elwilddeh, a 
chair of a peculiar form, upon which the patient is to 
be seated during the birth." ^ 

The ordinary food of the Israelites during the time 
of their sojourn in Egypt is stated in one place 
(Exod. xvi. 3) to have consisted of " bread " and 
" flesh." But from another we can learn that it 
embraced also " fish " in abundance, and likewise the 
following vegetables : " cucumbers, melons, leeks, 
onions, and garlic " (Numb. xi. 5). That bread was 
its staple may be gathered from the institution of the 
feast of unleavened bread (ch. xii. 15-20), as well as 
from the mention of " dough " (ibid. vers. 34, 39) as 
the only provision that they took with them, besides 
their beasts, when they quitted the country. Now 
''bread" was certainly "the staff of life" to the 
Egyptian nation, and the food on which they would 
naturally nourish their slaves. We find a king stating 
that he offered in a single temple loaves of three 
distinct kinds, viz., "best bread," "great loaves of 
bread for eating," and " loaves of barley bread," to the 
amount of 6,272,431.^ He also offered to the same 

1 Lane, " Modern Egyptians," vol. iii., p. 142. 
2 "Records of the Past," vol. viii., p. 44, line 5. 


temple 5,279,552 bushels of corn.^ "Bread" is the 
ordinary representative of food in Egyptian speech. 
The good man "gives bread to the hungry ";2 artisans 
labour for " bread " ; ^ " bread " is taken out to the 
rustics who work in the fields/ and is brought for the 
repast of young maidens.^ Flesh, on the other hand, 
though largely consumed by the rich, was generally 
beyond the means of the poor; and the Israelites 
longing after the " fleshpots " of Egypt can only be 
accounted for by supposing that the king nourished 
his labourers on a more generous diet than was 
obtainable by the working classes generally. It is not 
likely, however, that they received flesh often. We 
have probably in Num. xi. 5 the main constituents of 
their dietary in addition to bread. Fish, which they 
" did eat in Egypt freely," was undoubtedly one of the 
principal articles of food consumed by the lower 
orders. Herodotus says that a certain number of the 
poorer Egyptians " lived entirely on fish." ^ It was so 
abundant that it was necessarily cheap. The Nile 
produced several kinds, which were easily caught; 
and in Lake Moeris the abundance of the fish was 
such that the Pharaohs are said to have derived from 
the sale a revenue of above ;^94,ooo a year.^ Lake 
Menzaleh also, and the other lakes near the coast, must 

1 " Records of the Past," vol. viii., p. 45, line 13. 

2 Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," p. 46. 
^"Records of the Past," vol. viii., p. 150. 

*Ibid., vol. ii., p. 139, 5 ibi^.^ vol, vi., p. 154. 

8 Herod, ii. 92. 7 jbid. ii. 149. 



have yielded a considerable supply. The fishermen 
of Egypt formed a numerous class/ and the salting 
and drying of fish furnished occupation to a large 
number of persons.^ The quantity of vegetable food 
which the poorer Egyptians consumed is noted by 
Diodorus,^ and Herodotus makes out that the 
labourers whom Khufu (Cheops) employed to build 
the great pyramid subsisted mainly, if not wholly, on 
radishes, onions, and garlic* Cucurbitaceous vege- 
tables are at present among the most abundant pro- 
ductions of the Egyptian soil, and the monuments 
frequently exhibit them.^ On the whole, therefore, 
the dietary assigned to the Israelites in Egypt may be 
pronounced such as the country was well capable of 
furnishing, and such as agrees in most particulars with 
the ordinary food of the Egyptian labouring class. 

The customs connected with farming and cattle- 
keeping noticed in Exodus and the later books of the 
Pentateuch include, besides the cultivation of certain 
cereals already mentioned, {a) the comparative late- 
ness of the wheat and door a harvest (ch. ix. 31, 32); 
(b^ the leaving of stubble in the fields after the 
gathering in of the crops (ch. v. 12); (r) the general 
cultivation of the land after the fashion of a garden 
(Deut. xi. 10); (d^ the employment of irrigation in 
such a way that the " foot " could direct the course of 

^ Herod, ii. 92, 95 ; " Records of the Past," vol. viii., p. 153. 
2 Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., pp. 115-8. 
5 Diod. Sic. i. 80. * Herod, ii. 125. 

^Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. iii., pp. 419, 431. 


the life-giving fluid (ibid.) ; (r) the cultivation of fruit- 
trees (Exod. ix. 25; X. 15); and (/") the keeping of 
cattle, partly in the fields, partly in stalls, or sheds, 
where they were protected from the weather (ch. 
ix. 19-25). With respect to the first of these points, 
it may be observed that there is exactly the same 
difference now as that which the writer of Exodus 
notes, — " Barley ripens and flax blossoms about the 
middle of February, or, at the latest, early in March," ^ 
while the wheat harvest does not begin till April. 
There is thus a full month between the barley and the 
wheat harvest.^ The doora is also a late crop. 

The mode of reaping wheat which prevailed in 
ancient Egypt is amply represented upon the monu- 
ments, and appears to have been such as to leave 
abundant stubble in the fields, as implied in ch. v. 12. 
Not more than about a foot of the straw was cut with 
the ear, two feet or more being left.^ The barley was 
probably reaped in the same way. 

It is not, perhaps, quite clear what is meant in Deut. 
xi. 10 by the land of Egypt being cultivated "as a 
garden of herbs "; but most probably the reference is, 
as Wilkinson suggests,^ to the ordinary implement of 
cultivation, the plough, being largely dispensed with, 
and a slight dressing with the hoe, if even so much as 
that, used instead. Herodotus witnesses to the preva- 

* Canon Cook in the " Speaker's Commentary," vol. i., p. 286. 

2 Birch in Wilkinson's " Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., p. 42, note. 
'Ibid., vol. ii., pp. 418-427. 

* Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., p. 389, note. 


lence of this method of cultivation/ and the monu- 
ments occasionally represent it. 

The absolute necessity of irrigation, and the nature 
of the irrigation, implied in the expression, " where 
thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy 
foot" (Deut. xi. 10), receive illustration from the 
pictures in the tombs, which show us the fields 
surrounded by broad canals, and intersected every- 
where by cuttings from them, continually diminishing 
in size, until at last they are no more than rills banked 
up with a little mud, which the hand or " foot " might 
readily remove and replace, so turning the water in 
any direction that might be required by the cultivator. 

Fruit-trees are represented on the monuments as 
largely cultivated and much valued. Among them 
the vine holds the foremost place. A sceptical critic 
was once bold enough to assert that the statements in 
the Pentateuch which implied the existence of the 
vine in Egypt were distinct evidence of '' the late 
origin of the narrative." ^ But the tombs of Beni- 
hassan, which are anterior to the Exodus, contain 
" representations of the culture of the vine, the vintage, 
the stripping off and carrying away of the grapes, of 
two kinds of winepresses, the one moved by the 
strength of human arms, the other by mechanical 
power, the storing of the wine in bottles or jars, and its 
transportation into the cellar." ^ No one now doubts 

1 Herod, ii. 14. 

* Von Bohlen, "Die Genesis historisch-critisch erlautert," § 373. 
^ Champollion, quoted by Hengstenberg, " Egypt and the Books of 
Moses," p. 15. 


that the vine was cultivated in Egypt from a time long 
anterior to Moses. The fig and the date-bearing palm 
were likewise grown for the sake of the fruit, grapes, 
figs, and dates constituting the Egyptian lord's usual 
dessert,^ while the last-named fruit was also made into 
a conserve,^ which diversified the diet at rich men's 

The breeding and rearing of cattle was a regular 
part of the farmer's business in Egypt, and the wealth 
of individuals in flocks and herds was considerable. 
Three distinct kinds of cattle were affected — the long- 
horned, the short-horned, and the hornless.^ " During 
the greater part of the year they were pastured in 
open fields, on the natural growth of the rich soil, or 
on artificial grasses, which were cultivated for the 
purpose ; but at the time of the inundation it was 
necessary to bring them in from the fields to the farm- 
yards or the villages, where they were kept in sheds 
or pens on ground artificially raised, so as to be 
beyond the reach of the river."* Thus the cattle 
generally had " houses " (Exod. ix. 20), i. e., sheds or 
stalls, into which it was possible to bring them at 
short notice. 

Among " miscellaneous customs " the following 
seem most worthy of notice : {a) the practice of 
making boats out of bulrushes (ch. ii. 3 ; compare 
Isa. xviii. 2), and {b) the position occupied by magic 

1 Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," p. 45. 

2 Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians," vol. ii., p. 43. *'' Ibid. 
*Rawlinson, "History of Ancient Eg>'pt," vol. i., pp. 171, 172, 


at the court of the Pharaohs. On the former point 
Sir Gardner Wilkinson remarks^: "There was a small 
kind of punt or canoe made entirely of the papyrus, 
bound together with bands of the same plant — the 
* vessels of bulrushes ' mentioned in Isa. xviii. 2." On 
the latter M. Maspero makes the following statement^: 
" Magic was in Egypt a science, and the magician one 
of the most esteemed of learned men. The nobles 
themselves, the prince Khamuas and his brother, were 
adepts in supernatural arts, and decipherers of magic 
formularies, in which they had an entire belief A 
prince who was a sorcerer would nowadays inspire a 
very moderate sentiment of esteem. In Egypt the 
profession of magic was not incompatible with royalty, 
and the sorcerers of a Pharaoh had not uncommonly 
the Pharaoh himself for their pupil." The magical 
texts form a considerable proportion of the MSS. 
which have come down to us from ancient times, par- 
ticularly from the nineteenth dynasty; and the com- 
position of some of them was ascribed to a Divine 

' In Rawlinson's " Herodotus," vol. ii., p. 154, note. 
2 Quoted by M. Lenormant, "Manuel d'Histoiie Ancienne," vol. ii., 
pp. 126-7. 



It is, at first sight, surprising that there is no mention 
of Egypt in connection with the history of the Israel- 
ites between the Exodus and the reign of Solomon. 
The interval is one of, at least, three hundred — per- 
haps of four hundred — years. During its earlier 
portion, and again about a century before its close, the 
Egyptian monarchs conducted expeditions into North- 
ern Syria, if not even into Mesopotamia, which might 
have been expected to have brought them, into contact 
with the Hebrew people ; but the Hebrew records of 
the time are entirely silent on the subject, and indeed 
only mention Egypt retrospectively, as the place where 
Israel had once suffered affliction.^ Perhaps the earlier 
expeditions — ^those of Rameses 1 11.^ — may have taken 
place while Israel was still detained in the " Wilder- 
ness of the Wanderings," in which case there would 
naturally have been no collision between the two 
peoples ; while those of Rameses XII.^ and of Her- 

ijosh.i. lo; xxiv. 4-7, 14, 17; i Sam.ii.27; vi.6; x.i8; xii.6-8. 
^Brugsch, "History of Egypt," vol. ii., p. 152. 
8 Ibid., vol. ii., pp. 184-7 ; Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," 
pp. 149-153- 


hor^ (about B.C. 11 30-1 100), having Syria rather than 
Palestine for their object, may have been conducted 
along the coast route, by way of Philistia and Phoeni- 
cia, into Coele-Syria, and so have left the Israelite 
territory untouched, or nearly untouched. The main 
explanation, however, of the disappearance of Egypt 
from the narrative, is to be found in her general 
depression and weakness during the period in ques- 
tion, which prevented any real conquests from being 
made, or any large armies sent into Western Asia, as 
in the earlier times of Thothmes III., Amenhotep IL, 
Seti, and Rameses II., or in the later ones of Sheshonk 
and Neku. This depression is very marked in the 
Egyptian remains, which show no really great or 
conquering monarch between Rameses III. and She- 
shonk I. During this space, which is that of the 
judges and first two kings in Israel, Egypt really 
ceased to be an aggressive power. 

The Scriptural notices of Egypt belonging to the 
reign of Solomon are the following : — 

1. "Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and took 
Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David." — i Kings 
iii. I. 

2. " Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had gone up and taken Gezer, and burnt 
it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given 
it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife." — i Kings ix. 16. 

3. « Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn ; the 
king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price. And a chariot 
came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and 
an horse for a hundred and fifty : and so for all the kings of the 

1 Birch, p. 154. 


Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their 
means." — i Kings x, 28, 29. 

4. " The Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the 
Edomite : he was of the king's seed in Edom. For it came to pass, 
when David was in Edom, and Joab, the captain of the host, was gone 
up to bury the slain, after he had smitten eveiy male in Edom, . . . 
that Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with 
him, to go into Egypt, Hadad being yet a little child ; and they arose 
out of Midian, and came to Paran ; and they took men with them out 
of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh, king of Egypt, which 
gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. 
And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave 
him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen ; 
and the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath, his son, whom Tahpenes 
weaned in Pharaoh's house : and Genubath was in Pharaoh's house- 
hold, among the sons of Pharaoh." — i Kings xi. 14-20. 

5. " Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose and 
fled into Egypt, unto Shishak, . . . unto the death of Solomon." — i 
Kings xi. 40. 

There is nothing surprising in the willingness of a 
Pharaoh of the twenty-first dynasty to give a daughter 
in marriage to the foreign monarch of a neighbouring 
country. Even in the most flourishing times the 
kings of Egypt had been willing to form matrimonial 
alliances with the Ethiopian royal house, and had both 
taken Ethiopian princesses for their own wives' and 
given their daughters in marriage to Ethiopian mon- 
archs. The last king of the twentieth dynasty married 
a " princess of Baktan " ^ — a Syrian or Mesopotamian ; 
and even the great Rameses married a Hittite.^ 

^ Birch, " Egypt from the Earliest Times," pp. 81, 107, etc. 

2 " Records of the Past," vol. iv., p. 57. 

*Lenormant, "Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 264. 


According to i Chron. iv. 18, there was one Pharaoh 
who allowed a daughter of his to marry a mere ordi- 
nary Israelite. To " make affinity " with a prince 
of Solomon's rank and position would have been 
beneath the dignity of few Egyptian monarchs ; it 
was probably felt as a highly satisfactory connection 
by the weak Tanite prince whose daughter made so 
good a match. 

With which of the Tanite monarchs it was that 
Solomon thus allied himself is uncertain. M. Lenor- 
mant fixes definitely on Hor-Pasebensha/ or Pase- 
bensha II., the last king of the dynasty; but an earlier 
monarch is more probable. Solomon's marriage was 
early in his reign (i Kings iii. i), and he reigned forty 
years (ch. xi. 42), during the last five or ten of which 
he would seem to have been contemporaiy with 
Shishak (ch. xi. 40). When he ascended the throne, 
the king who reigned in Egypt was probably either 
Pasebensha I. or Pinetem 11. Unfortunately these 
monarchs have left such scanty remains, that we know 
next to nothing concerning them. 

The conquest of Gezer by this Pharaoh, whoever he 
was, and its transference to Solomon as his wife's 
dowry (ch. ix. 16), though it cannot be confirmed 
from Egyptian history, may be illustrated from 
Assyrian. Sargon tells us in one of his inscriptions 
that, having conquered the country of Cilicia with 
some difficulty, on account of its great natural 
strength, he made it over to Ambris, king of Tubal, 
' Lenonnant, "Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 329. 



who had married one of his daughters, as the prin- 
cess's dowry.^ 

The establishment of commercial relations between 
Palestine and Syria on the one hand and Egypt on the 
other (ch. x. 28, 29) is exactly what might have been 
expected to follow on the matrimonial alliance con- 
cluded between Solomon and his Egyptian contem- 
porary. When Rameses II. allied himself with the 
Hittite royal house, interchange of commodities 
between Egypt and Syria is the immediate conse- 
quence. Corn is sent by sea from the valley of the 
Nile to the Syrian mountain tract for the support of 
the " children of Heth," ^ who doubtless made a return 
in timber, or some other products of their own soil. 
In Solomon's time the Egyptian commodities imported 
by the Western Asiatics were different. Long practice 
had perfected in Egypt the manufacture of chariots, 
and these had become indispensable to the Hittite and 
Syrian kings for the maintenance of their independ- 
ence against the encroachments of Assyria. Each 
king of these peoples — and there were several kings 
of each^^ — maintained a war force of several hundred 
chariots,^ for each of which were needed two well- 
trained horses. These Egypt supplied, together (if 
our translators are right) with " linen yarn," also a 

^ "Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 150, note 6. 
2 " Records of the Past," vol, iv., p. 43, 1. 24. 

^ See 2 Sam. viii. 3-12; x. 6-1 6; i Kings x. 29; 2 Kings vii. 6; and 
the Assyrian inscriptions passim. 

* " Ancient Monarchies," vol, ii., p. 103, note 7. 


commodity known to have been produced largely in 
that country.' 

The story of Hadad's flight to Egypt and hospitable 
reception by an Egyptian Pharaoh, whose queen's 
name was Tahpenes, admits of no illustration from 
profane sources. We do not know the names borne 
by the queens of the later monarchs of the twenty- 
first dynasty, and we have thus no means of identifying 
the Pharaoh intended. No doubt Egypt was at all 
times open as a refuge to political exiles ; but there 
must have been special reasons for the high favour 
shown to Hadad. Perhaps he was already connected 
by blood with the Tanite monarchs ; perhaps Edom 
had been in alliance with Egypt before David con- 
quered it. 

Jeroboam's flight to Shishak brings before us an 
Egyptian monarch who is fortunately unmistakable. 
Hitherto the sacred writers have been content, when 
mentioning Egyptian kings, to speak of them by their 
recognised official title of " Pharaoh." ^ Now for the 
first time is this habit broken through, and the actual 
proper name of an Egyptian monarch presented to us. 
The Hebrew Shishak {^^^"^^ represents almost exactly 
the Egyptian name ordinarily written " Sheshenk," 
but sometimes " Sheshek,"^and expressed in the frag- 
ments of Manetho by Sesonchis ( JsV^y^-^t?).* This is 

1 Herod, ii. 37, 182; iii. 47; Plin., " H. N." xix. i. 

2 See above, ch. xiii. 

3 Lepsius, " Ueber die XXII. iEgyptische Konigs dynastie," pp. 267, 

* Syncellus, " Chronographia," pp. 73D, 74D. 


a name well known to Egyptologists. Wholly absent 
from all the earlier Egyptian monuments, it appears 
suddenly in those of the twenty-second (Bubastite) 
dynasty, where it is borne by no less than four mon- 
archs, besides occurring also among the names of 
private individuals. This abundance would be some- 
what puzzling were it not for the fact that one only of 
the four monarchs is a warrior, or leads any expedition 
beyond the borders.^ The records of the time leave 
no doubt that the prince who received Jeroboam was 
Sheshonk I., the founder of the Bubastite line, the son 
of Namrot and Tentespeh, the first king of the twenty- 
second dynasty. 

" It came to pass in the fifth year of King Rehoboam that Shishak, 
king of Egypt, came up against Jerusalem ; and he took away the 
treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's 
house ; he even took away all ; and he took away all the shields of gold 
which Solomon had made." — I Kings xiv. 25, 26, 

With this may be compared 2 Chron. xii. 1-9 : — 

" And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the king- 
dom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, 
and all Israel with him; and it came to pass, that in the fifth year of 
King Rehoboam Shishak, king of Egypt, came up against Jerusalem, 
because they had transgi'essed against the Lord, with twelve hundred 
chariots and threescore thousand horsemen; and the people were 
without number that came with him out of Egypt — the Lubims, and 
the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians. And he took the fenced cities which 
pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem. Then came Shemaiah the 
prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah that were gathered 
together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them. Thus saith 

^ Lenormant, " Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 340. 


the Lord, Ye have forsaken Me, and therefore also have I left you in 
the hand of Shishak. Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king 
humbled themselves, and they said, The Lord is righteous. And when 
the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord 
came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humified themselves ; therefore 
I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance ; and 
My wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of 
Shishak. Ncvef-theless they shall be his sei-vants, that they may know 
My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. So 
Shishak, king of Eg>'pt, came up against Jerusalem, and took away 
the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the 
king's house ; he took all ; he earned away also the shields of gold 
which Solomon had made." 

The Palestinian expedition of Sheshonk I. forms 
the subject of a remarkable bas-relief/ which, on his 
return from it, he caused to be executed in commem- 
oration of its complete success. Selecting the Great 
Temple of Karnak, at Thebes, which Seti I. and 
Rameses II. had already adorned profusely with 
representations of their victories, he built against its 
southern external wall a fresh portico or colonnade, 
known to Egyptologists as "the portico of the Bubas- 
tites," and carved upon the wall itself, to the east of 
his portico, a memorial of his grand campaign. First, 
he represented himself in his war costume, holding by 
the hair of their heads with his left hand thirty-eight 
captive Asiatic chiefs, and with an iron mace uplifted 
in his right threatening them with destruction. 
Further, he caused himself to be figured a second 
time, and represented in the act of leading captive a 

ipor a representation of this monument, see the " Denkmaler " of 
Lepsius, part iii., pis. 252 and 253 a. 


hundred and thirty-three cities or tribes, each specified 
by name and personfied in an individual form, accom- 
panied by a cartouche containing their respective 
names. In the physiognomies of these ideal figures 
the critical acumen or lively imagination of a French 
historian sees rendered " with marvellous ethnographic 
exactness " the Jewish type of countenance ;^ but less 
gifted travellers do not find anything very peculiar in 
the profiles, which, whether representing Jews or 
Arabs, are almost exactly alike. 

The list of names contained in the record is very 
much more interesting than the array of counte- 
nances accompanying them. They have been carefully 
transcribed, and compared with those which occur in 
the Hebrew Scriptures, both by Mr. Reginald Stuart 
Poole ^ and by Dr. Brugsch.^ It results from the 
comparison, first, that of the ninety names which are 
legible about forty or forty-five may be pretty certainly 
identified either with Palestinian towns or districts or 
with Arab tribes of the neighbourhood ; secondly, 
that the Arab tribe names are in several instances 
repeated ; and thirdly, that the Palestinian town names 
are divisible into three classes : {a) cities of Judah 
proper, (8) Levitical cities within the limits of the 
kingdom of Israel, and ic) Canaanite cities within the 
same limits. To the first class belong Adoraim (called 

^ Lenormant, " Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 340. 
^ See the article on Shishak in Smith's *' Dictionary of the Bible," 
vol. iii. 

•• " Geschichte /Eg}'pten.s unter den Pharaonen," pp. 660-662. 


Adurma), Aijalon (called Ayulon), and Shoco (called 
Shauke), which were among the " fenced cities " that 
Rehoboam fortified in anticipation of Sheshonk's 
attack (2 Chron. xi. 5-10); also Gibeon (Kebeana), 
Alemeth (Beith-'almoth), Beth-Tappuah (Beith-Ta- 
puh), Telem (Zalema), Azem (Aauzamaa), and Lebaoth 
(Libith). To the second class may be assigned Taa- 
nach (Ta'ankau), mentioned as a Levitical city in Josh, 
xxi. 25 ; Rehob (Rehabau), mentioned in Josh. xxi. 
31 and I Chron. vi. 75; Mahanaim (Mahunema), men- 
tioned Josh. xxi. 38, I Chron. vi. 80; Beth-horon 
(Beith-Huaron), mentioned Josh. xxi. 22, i Chron. vi. 
68 ; Kedemoth (Kademoth), mentioned Josh. xxi. 37, 
I Chron. vi. 79 ; Bileam (Bilema), mentioned i Chron. 
vi. 70; Golan (Galenaa), mentioned Josh. xxi. 27, i 
Chron. vi. 71 ; and Anem (Anama), mentioned in i 
Chron. vi. 73. As belonging to the third class we can 
only fix positively on Beth-shan (Beith-shan-ra) and 
Megiddo (Maketu) ; but Rabbith, Shunem, Hapha- 
raim, and Edrei, which are also contained in Shes- 
honk's list of his conquests, may be suspected of having 
retained a Canaanite element in their population. 

This list is remarkable both for what it contains and 
for what it omits. The omission of most of those 
strongholds towards the south, which Rehoboam forti- 
fied against Egypt, as Hebron, Lachish, Azekah, 
Mareshah, Gath, Adullam, Bethzur, and Tekoa (2 
Chron. xi. 6-10), is perhaps to be explained by the 
illegibility of twelve names at the beginning of the list, 
where these cities, as the first attacked, would most 


probably have been mentioned. The omission of 
Jerusalem might also be accounted for in the same way. 
Or the fact may have been that Jerusalem itself was 
not taken. Like Hezekiah, on the first invasion of 
Sennacherib (2 Kings xviii. 13-16), Rehoboam may 
have surrendered his treasures (i Kings xiv. 26) to 
save his city from the horrors of capture. This was, 
perhaps, the fulfilment of God's promise by the mouth 
of Shemaiah — 'M will grant them some deliverance, 
and My wrath shall not be poured upon Jerusalem 
by the hand of Shishak " (2 Chron. xii. 7). The 
Egyptian monarch, on receiving the treasures and the 
submission of Rehoboam (ibid. ver. 8), may have con- 
sented to respect the city. 

But, as he could not mention Jerusalem among his 
actual conquests, he supplied the place where the 
name would naturally have occurred with an inscrip- 
tion of a peculiar kind. The cartouche borne by one 
of the earlier of the ideal figures contains the epigraph 
" YUTeH MALeK," in which Egyptologists generally 
recognise a boast either that the " king " or the " king- 
dom of Judah " made submission to the conqueror. 
" Yuteh Malek " is, we think, most properly read as 
" Judah, a kingdom." By introducing the words, 
Sheshonk wished to mark that besides subduing cities 
and districts and tribes, he had in one case conquered 
a country which was under the government of a king. 

The fact that a large proportion of the towns men- 
tioned as taken are in the territories not of Rehoboam, 
against whom Sheshonk " went up " (i Kings xiv. 25), 


but of Jeroboam, his protege and friend, whom his 
expedition was doubtless intended to assist, and the 
further fact that these towns were chiefly Levitical or 
Canaanite, would seem to show that Jeroboam, in 
the earlier part of his reign, had considerable opposi- 
tion to encounter within the limits of his own king- 
dom. The disaffection of those Levites whose posses- 
sions lay within his territories is sufficiently indicated 
in Chronicles by the account which is there given (2 
Chron. xi. 13, 14) of a number of them leaving their 
possessions and " resorting to Rehoboam throughout 
all their coasts." It is probable that such as remained 
were equally hostile, and that Jeroboam used the 
arms of his ally to punish them. At the same time, 
he was enabled by Egyptian aid to reduce a few 
Canaanite cities which still maintained their inde- 
pendence, as Gezer had done until conquered by the 
Pharaoh who gave his daughter to Solomon (2 Kings 
ix. 16). 

The army with which Sheshonk invaded Palestine 
is more numerous than we should have anticipated, 
and some corruption in the numbers maybe suspected. 
It is composed, hov/ever, exactly as the monuments 
would have led us to expect, almost wholly of foreign 
mercenaries (2 Chron. xii. 3), Libyans, Ethiopians, and 
others. The Egyptian armies at this time consisted, 
for the most part, of Maxyes and other Berber tribes 
from the north-west, and of Ethiopians and negroes 
from the south.^ Sheshonk, who was himself of 

1 Lenormant, " Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., pp. 340, 341. 


foreign descent, placed far more dependence on these 
foreign troops than on the native Egyptian levies. 

" Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears. , . . And 
there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a 
thousand thousand and three hundred chariots, and came unto Mare- 
shah. Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in aiTay 
in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried unto the 
Lord, . . . and the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before 
Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people that were 
with him pursued them unto Gerar ; and the Ethiopians were over- 
thrown, that they could not recover themselves."— 2 Chron. xiv. 9-13. 

The Egyptians do not record unsuccessful expedi- 
tions, and thus the monuments contain no mention of 
this attack on Asa. It appears to have been provoked 
by Asa's rebellion, which is glanced at in 2 Chron. 
xiv. 6. The Egyptian monarch who sent or led the 
expedition was probably Osorchon (Uasarkan) II., 
whose name the Hebrews contracted into Zerach 
(n!)T). He was, perhaps, an Ethiopian on his mother's 
side. Asa's defeat of his vast army is the most 
glorious victory ever obtained by an Israelite monarch, 
and secured his country from any Egyptian attack for 
above three centuries. 



" In the twelfth year of Ahaz, king of Judah, began Hoshea,the son 
of Elah, to reign in Samaria. . . . Against him came up Shalmaneser, 
king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him 
presents. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea, for he 
had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and brought no present to 
the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; therefore the king 
of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison." — 2 Kings xvii. 1-4. 

It is not very easy to identify the " king of Egypt " 
here mentioned, as one with whom Hoshea. the son 
of Elah, sought to ally himself, with any of the known 
Pharaohs. " So " is a name that seems at first sight 
very unlike those borne by Egyptian monarchs, which 
are never monosyllabic, and in no case end in the 
letter 0. A reference to the Hebrew text removes, how- 
ever, much of the difficulty, since the word rendered by 
''So" in our version is found to be one of three letters, 
«1D, all of which may be consonants. As the Maso- 
retic pointing, which our translators followed, is of 
small authority, and in proper names of scarcely any 
authority at all, we are entitled to give to each of the 
three letters its consonant force, and, supplying short 
vowels, to render the Hebrew i<^D by '' Seveh." Now 
" Seveh " is very near jndeed to the Manethonian 


264 ^^^ yL ON AND EG YP T. 

" Sevech-us," whom the Sebennytic priest makes the 
second monarch of his twenty-fifth dynasty; and 
" Sevech-us " is a natural Greek equivalent of the 
Egyptian *' Shebek " or " Shabak," a name borne by a 
well-known Pharaoh (the first king of the same 
dynasty), which both Herodotus and Manetho render 
by ** Sabacos." It has been generally allowed that So 
(or Seveh) must represent one or other of these, but 
critics are not yet agreed which is to be preferred of 
the two.^ To us it seems that both the name itself 
and the necessities of the chronology point to the first 
king rather than to the second ; and we consequently 
regard Hoshea as having turned in his distress to 
seek the aid of the monarch whom the Egyptians 
knew as Shabak, and the Greeks as Sabacos or Sabaco.^ 
The application implies an entire change in the 
condition of political affairs in the East, and in the 
relations of state to state, from those which prevailed 
when Egyptian monarchs last figured in the sacred 
narrative, two hundred or two hundred and fifty years 
earlier. Then Egypt was an aggressive power, bent 
on establishing her influence over Palestine, and from 
time to time invading Asia with large armies in the 
hope of making extensive conquests.^ She was the 
chief enemy feared by the petty kingdoms and loosely 
aggregated tribes of South-western Asia, the only 

' The general opinion is in favour of Shabak ; but some, like Hekek- 
yan Bey ("Chronology of Siriadic Monuments," p. io6), prefer 

^Ilerod. ii. 139; Manetho ap, Syncell. "Chronograph.," p. 74, B. 

'2Chron. xii. 3; xiv. 9. 


power in their neighbourhood that possessed large 
bodies of discipHned troops and an instinct of self- 
aggrandisement. But all this was now altered. 
Egypt, from the time of Osarkon II., had steadily 
declined in strength ; her monarchs had been inactive 
and unwarlike, her policy one of abstention from all 
enterprise. The inveterate evil of disintegration with 
which her ill-shaped territory was naturally threat- 
ened, and which had from time to time shown itself in 
her history, once more made its appearance. There 
arose a practice of giving appanages to the princes 
of the royal house, which tended to become hereditary, 
and trenched on the sovereignty of the nominal mon- 
arch. " Egypt found herself divided into a certain 
number of principalities, some of which contained 
only a few towns, while others extended over several 
adjacent cantons. Ere long the chiefs of these prin- 
cipalities were bold enough to reject the suzerainty 
of the Pharaoh ; relying upon their bands of Libyan 
mercenaries, they not only usurped the functions of 
royalty, but even the title of king, while the legitimate 
reigning house, relegated to a corner of the Delta, 
with difficulty preserved a remnant of its old autho- 
rity." ^ By the close of the twenty-second dynasty, 
" Egypt had arrived at such a point of disintegration 
as to find herself portioned out among nearly twenty 
princes, of whom four at least assumed the cartouche 
and the other emblems of royalty." ^ 

^Lenormant, "Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol, ii., p. 341. 
2 Ibid., p. 342. 


Meanwhile, as if to counterbalance the paralysis 
and discrepitude of the Egyptian state, there had 
arisen on the other side of Syria and Palestine a great 
power, continually increasing in strength, with the 
same instinct of aggrandisement which had formerly 
possessed Egypt, and with even greater aptitudes for 
war and conquest. Assyria, from about b. c. 880, or a 
little earlier, began to press westward upon the nations 
dwelling between the Euphrates and the Mediterra- 
nean, and to threaten them with subjugation. Asshur- 
nazir-pal took Carchemish, conquered Northern Syria, 
and forced the Phoenician cities to make their submis- 
sion to him.^ His son, Shalmaneser II., engaged in 
wars with Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria; defeated 
Benhadad, Hazael, and Ahab ; and made Jehu take 
up the position of a tributary.^ The successors of 
these two warlike princes '* fairly maintained the 
empire which they had received," ^ and even pushed 
their expeditions into Philistia and Edom. After a 
lull in the war-storm, which lasted from about B.C. 
780 to 750, it recommenced with increased fury. 
Tiglath-Pileser II. crushed the kingdom of Damascus, 
and greatly crippled that of Samaria, besides which he 
reduced the Philistines and several tribes of Arabs. 
He was succeeded by Shalmaneser IV., the monarch 
mentioned in 2 Kings xvii. 3. 

The situation was thus the following. The petty 

^"Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., pp. 88, 89. 

2 Ibid., pp. 102-106. 

2 Sayce, " Ancient Empires of the East," p. 375. 


States of Palestine and Syria had been suffering from 
the attacks of the Assyrians for a century and a half 
One after another, the greater part of them had suc- 
cumbed. First they were made tributaries ; then they 
were absorbed into the conquering state and became 
mere provinces. Hoshea found his kingdom threat- 
ened with the fate which had befallen so many others. 
He had the courage to make an effort to save it. 
Casting an anxious glance over the entire political 
position, he thought that he saw in the Egyptian 
monarch of the time a possible deliverer. For there 
had been quite recently a revolution in Egypt. The 
weak and indolent native monarchs had been thrust 
aside, and superseded by a stronger and fiercer foreign 
race from the neighbouring Ethiopia. ** So," or 
Shabak, was one of these foreigners, and wielded the 
resources of two countries, his adopted and his native 
one. It was reasonable to expect that he would see 
the danger which menaced Egypt from the new 
masters of Western Asia, and the desirability of main- 
taining the barrier between his own dominions and the 
Assyrian, which the still unconquered tribes and king- 
doms of Syria and Palestine were capable of constitut- 
ing. There were others besides Samaria ripe for 
revolt.^ It would have been a wise policy on the part 
of the Egyptian monarch to have fomented the dis- 
affection, and supported with his full force the move- 
ment in favour of independence which was in progress. 

1 As Tyre, which actually revolted a year or two later ; and Hamath, 
Arpad, Simyra, and Damascus, which revolted from Sargon in B.C. 721. 


Hoshea's " messengers," under these circumstances, 
sought the court of Shabak, which appears to have 
been fixed at Memphis, in Lower Egypt.^ It would 
seem that they were received with favour, and that 
material aid was promised, since Hoshea almost 
immediately broke into open revolt by withholding 
the tribute due to his Assyrian suzerain. With the 
utmost promptness Shalmaneser marched against him, 
seized his person, and carried him off to Nineveh. 
Shabak made no effort in his defence. The first 
attempt of the people of God to " call to Egypt " 
(Hos. vii. ii) thus proved a most disastrous failure: 
the king, who had " trusted upon the staff of the 
bruised reed" (2 Kings xviii. 21), was ruined by his 
misplaced confidence, and within a few years his 
capital was taken (ibid. ver. 6), and his people carried 
into captivity (ibid,). 

"And Rabshakeh said, . . . Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith 
the great king, the king of Assyria, "What confidence is this wherein 
thou trustest? Thou sayest — but they are but vain words — I have 
counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that 
thou rebellest against me ? Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff 
of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will 
go into his hand and pierce it ; so is Pharaoh, king of Egypt unto all 
that trust on him." (ch. xviii. 19-21). 

"When he" {i.e. Sennacherib) "heard say of Tirhakah, king of 
Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee, he sent messen- 
gers again to Hezekiah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest 
deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of 
the king of Assyria" (ibid., vers. 9, 10). 

* Rawlinson, " History of Ancient Egypt," vol. ii., p. 446. 


Another act in the drama has been opened. The 
kingdom of Samaria having been conquered and 
absorbed by the terrible Assyrians, it is Judaea's turn to 
be threatened with a similar fate. Not that she is now 
threatened for the first time. Before Samaria had 
fallen, Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah, placed himself 
voluntarily under the Assyrian suzerainty, consenting 
to become the vassal of Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings xvi. 
7-10). Hezekiah threw off the Assyrian yoke (ch. 
xviii. 7) ; but it was reimposed upon him first, as it 
would seem, by Sargon,^ and again (about B.C. 701) 
by Sennacherib (ibid., vers. 13-16). The Jewish mon- 
arch was, however, at no time a submissive or willing 
vassal ; and he had no sooner bowed his neck to Sen- 
nacherib's yoke, than he began to make preparations 
for recovering his independence. Like his brother 
monarch in Samaria, he thought that he saw in Egypt 
his best ally and protector. We may gather from 
Sennacherib's reproaches in this chapter, as well as 
from passages in the prophecies of Isaiah, that a 
formal embassy was sent either to Tirhakah at Napata, 
or to his representative in Lower Egypt, with an offer 
of alliance and a request for armed assistance, espe- 
cially chariots and horsemen (ibid., vers. 23, 24). As 
in the former instance, the answer received was favour- 
able. Tirhakah was an enterprising monarch who 
left a name behind him which marks him as one of 

1 Sargon claims in his inscriptions to have conquered Jerusalem (see 
Mr. Cheyne's " Isaiah," vol. i., p. 69). Various passages of Isaiah are 
thought to have reference to this conquest. 


the greatest of Egypt's later kings.^ He saw the 
wisdom of upholding the independence of Judaea, and, 
accepting the alliance proffered by Hezekiah, probably 
gave an assurance of help, should Sennacherib attempt 
to punish his revolted vassal. 

The occasion for fulfilling his promise soon arrived. 
Sennacherib, in b. c. 700 or 699, once more proceeded 
into Palestine,^ and, sending a general to frighten 
Hezekiah into submission (ibid., ver. 17), himself 
marched on towards the south. He had received 
information of the alliance that had been concluded 
between Judaea and Egypt (vers. 21, 24), and regard- 
ing Tirhakah as his chief enemy, pressed forward to 
encounter his troops. Tirhakah, on his part, remained 
faithful to his ally, and put his army in motion to meet 
Sennacherib (ch. xix. 9). 

This boldness is quite in accordance with Tir- 
hakah's character. He was an enterprising prince, 
engaged in many wars, and a determined opponent of 
the Assyrians. His name is read on the Egyptian 
monuments as Tahark or Tahrak ; and his face, which 
appears on them, is expressive of strong determina- 
tion. The Assyrian inscriptions tell us that, in the 
later part of his life, he carried on a war for many 
years with Esar-haddon and his son, Asshur-bani-pal.^ 

* Megasthenes, Fr. 80. 

' M. Lenormant considers that the embassy of Rabshakeh and de- 
struction of Sennacherib's host fell in the same year as his first invasion 
("Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 361); but it seems to me 
more probable that they were separated by a short interval. 

^G. Smith, "History of Asshur-bani-pal," pp. 15-47. 


If his star ultimately paled before that of the latter, it 
was not from any lack of courage, or resolution, or 
good faith on his part. He struggled gallantly 
against the Assyrian power for above thirty years, 
was never wanting to his confederates, and, if he did 
not quite deserve the high eulogies of the Greeks, 
was, at any rate, among the most distinguished 
monarchs of his race and period. 

" In his " (Josiah's) " days Pharaoh-Nechoh, king of Egypt, went 
up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates ; and King Josiah 
went against him ; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen 
him, . . . And the people of the land took Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, 
and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead. . . . And 
Pharaoh-Nechoh put him in bands at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, 
that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and put the land to a tribute of an 
hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. And Pharaoh-Nechoh 
made Eliakim, the son of Josiah, king in the room of Josiah his father, 
and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away ; and he 
came to Egypt, and died there " (ch. xxiii. 29-34). 

An interval of ninety years separates this notice 
from the one last considered. The position of affairs 
is once more completely changed. Although the 
present passage, taken by itself, does not give any 
indication of what had occurred, it is quite certain 
that, in the interval between Tirhakah's war with 
Sennacherib and " Pharaoh-Necho's " invasion of Pal- 
estine, the empire of Assyria had come to an end. 
Necho was on his way " to fight against Carchemish 
by Euphrates " (2 Chron. xxxv. 20) with " the house 
wherewith he had war " (ibid.) ; and that house was 
not the old one of the Sargonidae, wherewith Tirhakah 


had contended, but a new "house" which had recently 
come into power, and which held its court, not at 
Nineveh, but at Babylon (Isa. xlvi. 2). The exact 
year of the fall of Assyria is indeed uncertain;^ but 
all authorities agree that it had taken place before the 
date of Necho's expedition, which was in B.C. 608. 
By " king of Assyria," in ver. 29, we must therefore 
understand king of Babylon, just as in Ezra vi. 22 we 
must understand by " king of Assyria" king of Persia. 
The Babylonian monarch, Nabopolassar, had taken a 
share in the great war by which the empire of the 
Assyrians was brought to an end,^ and had succeeded 
to Assyria's rights in Western Mesopotamia, Syria, 
and Palestine. He was probably regarded by Josiah 
as his suzerain, and therefore entitled to such help as 
he could render him. 

While these changes had taken place in Asia, in 
Africa also the condition of affairs was very much 
altered. The Ethiopian dynasty, after its long struggle 
against Assyria, had been forced to yield, had given 
up the contest, and retired from Egypt altogether.^ 
Assyria had for a time held Egypt under her sway, and, 
acting in the spirit of the maxim, " Divide et impera," 
had split up the country among no fewer than twenty 
princes. Of these some had been Assyrians, but the 
greater part natives. A Necho (Neku), the grand- 
father of the antagonist of Josiah, had held the first 

* The opinion of scholars varies between B. c. 625 and B. c. 610. 

'"Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 232. 

^ Lenormant, " Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., pp. 377, 378. 


place among the twenty, being assigned the govern- 
ments of Memphis and Sais, together with almost the 
whole of the Western Delta. He had been succeeded 
after a time by his son Psamatik, the Psammetichus 
of the Greeks, who had taken advantage of the grow- 
ing weakness of Assyria during the later half of the 
seventh century to raise the standard of revolt, and 
had succeeded, by the assistance of Gyges, king of 
Lydia, and of numerous Greek and Carian mercena- 
ries, in establishing his own independence and uniting 
all Egypt under his sway. A period of great pros- 
perity had then set in. Psamatik I., a prudent, and at 
the same time a brave and warlike, prince, raised 
Egypt from a state of extreme depression to a height 
which she had only previously reached under the 
Osirtasens, the Thothmeses, and the Ramessides. 
During the rapid decline and decay of Assyrian power 
which followed upon the death of Asshur-bani-pal 
(b.c. 626), he extended his sway over Philistia and 
Phoenicia, thus resuming the policy of aggression 
upon Asia which had been laid aside, at any rate from 
the time of Sheshonk. The opportunity seemed good 
for re-establishing Egyptian influence in this quarter, 
now that Assyria was approaching her end, and Baby- 
lon not yet established as her successor. 

The " Pharaoh-Necho " of the present notice is 
undoubtedly Neku II., the son and successor of 
Psamatik I. and the grandson of the first Neku. He 
succeeded his father in B.C. 611 or 610, and held the 
throne till B.C. 595 or 594. He left behind him a 

274 £A^ yL ON AND EGYPT. 

high character for courage and enterprise. " We 
must see in him," says Dr. Wiedemann/ " according 
to the narratives of the Greek historians, one of the 
most enterprising and excellent sovereigns of all 
Egyptian antiquity." After two or three years of 
preparation for war, he led his forces into Palestine by 
the coast road commonly followed by his prede- 
cessors, through Philistia and Sharon to Megiddo, on 
the high ground separating the plain of Sharon from 
that of Esdraelon. Here, on a battle-field celebrated 
alike in ancient and in modern times, he was con- 
fronted by Josiah, the Jewish monarch, who had 
recently united under his sway the greater portion of 
the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah.^ Necho, 
according to the author of Chronicles, endeavoured 
to avoid engaging his troops, first by assuring him 
that his quarrel was not with him, but with the royal 
house of Babylon (2 Chron. xxxiii. 21), and then by 
urging that he had received a Divine commission to 
attack his enemy. Assertions of this kind were prob- 
ably not unusual in the mouths of Egyptian princes, 
who regarded themselves as the favourites of Heaven, 
sons of the sun, and under constant Divine protection. 
We have an example in Piankhi, one of the Ethiopian 
monarchs of Egypt, who, when marching against the 
native princes that had revolted from him, declares,^ 
" I am born of the loins, created from the ^g^, of the 

^ " Geshichte ^gyptens von Psammetich I. bis auf Alexander den 
Grossen," p. 147. 

2 2 Kings xxiii. 15-19; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 6-9. 
3" Records of the Past," vol. ii., p. 91, 1, 69. 


Deity. ... I have not acted without His knowing : 
He ordained that I should [so] act." Neither argu- 
ment had any effect on the resolution of the Jewish 
king ; he probably deemed himself bound, as a faithful 
vassal, to bar the way of his suzerain's enemy ; and 
Necho, finding him thus resolved, was compelled to 
engage his forces. The battle, commonly known as 
that of Megiddo, seems to be mentioned by Hero- 
dotus^ as the battle of Magdolum, wherein he says 
that Neko (Necho) defeated the " Palestinian Syrians," 
which appears to be his name for the Jews. There is 
reason to believe that the chief adversaries of the 
Jews on this occasion were the Greek and Carian mer- 
cenaries in the Egyptian service, since Necho was so 
pleased at their behaviour that he sent the arms which 
he had worn in the battle as an offering to a Greek 
temple in Asia Minor. 

The success of Necho in detaching Syria from the 
Babylonian empire, and attaching it to his own, 
implied in the narrative of Kings, and in Jer. xlvi. 2, 
is alluded to in a fragment of Berosus.^ Berosus, as 
a Babylonian, ignores Necho's independent position, 
and speaks of him as the " satrap " of the western 
provinces, who had caused them to " revolt." He 
regards the '' revolt " as extending to Egypt, Syria, 
and Phoenicia, and as lasting until, in B.C. 605, Nebu- 
chadnezzar was sent by his father to re-establish the 
dominion of Babylon in the far west. 

1 Herod, ii. 159. 

^Beros. in the " Fragm. Hist. Gr." of C. Miiller, vol. ii. Fr. 14. 



" The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, 
and shall come into Egypt ; and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at 
His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. 
And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians ; and they shall 
fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour ; 
city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of 
Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, 
and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the 
wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hands of a cruel 
lord ; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord 
of hosts. . . . Surely the princes of Zoan are fools ; the counsel of the 
wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish ; how say ye unto 
Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings ? Where 
are they ? where are thy wise men ? and let them tell thee now, and 
let them know what the Lord hath pui-posed upon Egypt. The princes 
of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived ; they 
have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes 
thereof." — IsA. xix. 1-13. - 

It was a principal part of the mission of Isaiah during 
the reign of Hezekiah to dissuade the Jews from 
placing their dependence on Egypt in the struggle 
wherein they were engaged, with the prophet's entire 
consent and approval, against the Assyrians. Egypt, 


it was revealed to him, was no sure stay, no trust- 
worthy ally, no powerful protector ; she would fail in 
time of need, either unwilling or unable to give 
effectual help. (See ch. xx. 6; xxx. 3, 7 ; xxxi. 1-3.) 
Nor was this the worst. So long as king and people 
put their trust in an " arm of flesh," and did not rely 
upon God, God's arm was straitened, and he could 
not work the miraculous deliverance, which He was 
prepared to work, ''because of their unbelief" Isaiah's 
prophecies with respect to Egypt are thus, almost 
entirely, depreciatory and denunciatory. He is bent on 
showing that she is a power on whom no dependence 
can be wisely placed, in the hope that he may thereby 
prevent Hezekiah and his princes from contracting 
any alliance with the Egyptian monarch. 

In this first prophecy he announces two calamities 
as about to befall Egypt, either of which is sufficient 
to render her an utterly worthless ally. The first of 
these calamities is civil war. The Egyptians are about 
to " fight every one against his brother, and every one 
against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom 
against kingdom." It is a remarkable illustration of 
this prophecy to find, as we do, from an inscription of 
Piankhi-Merammon,^ that about B.C. 735 Egypt was 
divided up among no fewer than twenty-two princes, 
of whom four bore the title of " king," and that a civil 
war raged among them for some considerable time. 
Tafnekht, prince of Sais, began the disturbance by a 

^ See "Records of the Past," vol. ii., pp. 81-104; and compare 
Brugsch, " Geschichte i^gyptens," pp. 682-707, 


series of skilfully arranged encroachments upon his 
neighbours. *' During several years he laid siege 
successively to the fortresses which were held by the 
independent militaiy chiefs and the petty princes of 
the western portion of Lower Egypt. Once master 
of all the territory to the west of the middle branch 
of the Nile, Tafnekht, respecting the dominion of the 
dynasty of Tanis over the Eastern Delta, proceeded 
to mount the stream, in order to make himself master 
of Central Egypt, and even with the intention of 
essaying the conquest of Upper Egypt, which was in 
the possession of the Ethiopian kings of Napata at 
this period. The stronghold of Meri-tum, now Mey- 
doum, the district of Lake Moeris, the city of Hera- 
cleopolis, with its king Pefaabast, and that of Hermo- 
polis, with its king Osorkon, recognised his authority 
as sovereign. He also made himself master of 
Aphroditopolis, and, pursuing his career of success, 
was in course of conquering the canton of Ouab, with 
its capital, Pa-matsets, when the chiefs of the upper 
and lower country who had not yet bowed their heads 
to his yoke invoked the aid of the Ethiopian mon- 
arch." ^ Piankhi gladly responded to the call, and in 
the course of one or two campaigns succeeded in 
despoiling Tafnekht of all his conquests, and in 
restoring Egypt to tranquillity. He then reigned for 
some years in peace ; but at his death disturbances 
broke out afresh. Bocchoris, or Bok-en-ranf, who 
succeeded Tafnekht at Sais, had a reign as troubled 

1 Lenormant, " Manuel d'Histoive Ancienne," vol. ii. p. 344. 


as his predecessor's. " It was," says M. Lenormant/ 
"an incessant struggle against the petty princes, a 
continuous series of wars, first for the subjection of 
the Delta and Central Egypt, nay, even temporarily of 
the Thebaid, and then for the preservation of his con- 
quests, and the maintenance with much difficulty of a 
precarious dominion." In the end Bocchoris suc- 
cumbed to Shabak, the successor of Piankhi, who 
punished his rebellion, as he considered it, by burning 
him alive.^ A third occasion of civil war, belonging 
to a somewhat later date, is mentioned by Herodotus. 
Psammetichus, the founder of the twenty-sixth dynasty, 
had to contend, according to this author,^ with eleven 
of his brother princes before he succeeded in uniting 
all Egypt under his sceptre. Briefly, it may be said 
that Egypt from about B.C. 735 to B.C. 650, suffered 
from a continued series of civil wars, which rendered 
her exceptionally weak, and caused her to fall an easy 
prey alternately to the Ethiopians and the Assyrians. 

The other calamity prophesied is that of conquest 
by a foreign king of a fierce and cruel temper. *' The 
Egyptians will I give over into the hands of a cruel 
lord ; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the 
Lord " (ver. 4). The Egyptian and Assyrian records 
show that, between the years B.C. 750 and B.C. 650, 
Egypt was conquered at least five times, and was ruled 
by at least eight foreign monarchs. The first con- 

1 Lenormant, "Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 349. 

2 Manetho" ap. JSyncell., "Chronograph.," p. 74, b. 

3 Herod., ii. 152. 


quest — that of Piankhi Merammon — was certainly not 
a subjection to a " fierce and cruel lord," for Piankhi 
was a remarkably mild and clement prince, who did 
not even punish rebellion with any severity.^ Shabak, 
the next conqueror after Piankhi, was cruel ; but he 
can scarcely be the monarch intended, since he was 
accepted as a legitimate Pharaoh ; the " princes of 
Zoan and Noph " were his counsellors; and, if the 
prophecy touches him at all, it is as the deceived and 
misled Pharaoh of ver. ii,not as the ''fierce king" 
of ver. 4. The same may be said of his successors, 
Shabatok and Tirhakah, who were closely connected 
with Noph (Napata), and were recognised as legitimate 
Pharaoh's. It is to an Assyrian, not to an Ethiopian, 
conqueror that the prophecy must refer, and hence 
doubtless the introduction of Assyria by name into 
the later part of the prophecy, which in a certain sense 
balances the earlier (vers. 23-25). Two successive 
Assyrian monarchs conquered Egypt, Esar-haddon 
and Asshur-bani-pal. Either of the two would corres- 
pond well to the description of the " fierce king and 
cruel lord." Esar-haddon, who had Manasseh brought 
before him with a hook passed through his jaws (2 
Chron. xxxiii. 1 1), who broke up Egypt into twenty 
governments and changed the names of the towns,^ 
who usually executed rebels, and is said by his son to 
have appointed governors over the various provinces 
of Egypt for the express purpose of slaying and plun- 

^ Rawlinson, «* History of Ancient Egypt," vol. ii., p. 443. 
^ G. Smith, " Hisloiy of Asshur-bani-pal," pp. 34, 35. 


dering its people/ was certainly a severe and harsh 
monarch, who might well answer to the description of 
Isaiah; and Asshur-bani-pal, his successor, who rivetted 
the Assyrian yoke on the reluctant country, was a yet 
more cruel and relentless tyrant. Asshur-bani-pal 
burnt alive his own brother, Saul-Mugina, caused 
several of his prisoners to be chained and flayed, tore 
out the tongues of others by the roots, punished many 
by mutilation, and was altogether the most cruel and 
bloodthirsty of all the Assyrian monarchs of whom 
any record has come down to us.^ It is probably his 
conquest of Egypt in B.C. 668-666 which Isaiah's 
prophecy announces, though it is quite possible that 
Isaiah may have himself expected an earlier accom- 
plishment of the prediction.'^ 

" In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, when Sargon, the king 
of Assyria, sent him, and fought against Ashdod, and took it, at the 
same time spake the Lord by Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saying, Go and 
loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put ofif thy shoe from thy 
foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the Lord 
said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three 
years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia, so shall 
the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethio- 
pians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their 
buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. And they shall be afraid 
and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. 
And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is 
our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king 
of Assyria: and how shall we escape? " — IsA. xx. 1-6. 

1 G. Smith, " History of Asshur-bani-pal," p. 16. » 

2 See "Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 206. 

8 As Mr. Cheyne supposes : " Comment on Isaiah," vol. i., pp. J 1 2, 1 1 3. 


The general warning contained in Isaiah's " burden 
of Egypt " failed altogether of its intended effect. In 
Israel Hoshea, about B.C. 724, entered into alliance 
with Shabak (So), and thereby provoked the ruin 
which fell both on himself and his country. The 
lesson was lost on Hezekiah and his counsellors, who, 
as the attitude of the Assyrians became more and 
more threatening, inclined more and more to follow 
Hoshea's example and place themselves under the 
protection of Egypt. Egj^pt was at this time, as 
already explained, closely connected with Ethiopia, 
which under Piankhi, Shabak, Shabatok, and Tirhakah, 
exercised the rights of a suzerain power, permitting, 
however, to certain native Egyptian princes a delegated 
sovereignty. Hence the close connection in which we 
find Ethiopia and Egypt placed in the present pro- 
phecy. In the year that the Assyrian Tartan, or 
commander-in-chief, took Ashdod, having been 
assigned the task by Sargon, king of Assyria, the 
successor of Shalmaneser IV., and father of Sennach- 
erib — probably the year B.C. 714 — Isaiah was directed 
to renew his warning against trust in these African 
powers They had become the ** glory " and the 
" expectation " of his countrymen, whither they were 
ready to *' flee for help " (vers. 5, 6). In order to 
impress the Jews with the folly of their vain hopes, 
Isaiah was instructed to announce. a coming victory 
of Assyria over combined Egypt and Ethiopia, the 
result of which would be a great removal of captives, 
belonging to both nations, from the banks of the Nile 


to those of the Tigris, to the great " shame " of the 
conquered and the great glory of the conquerors. To 
arrest the attention of his nation, he was to take the 
garb of a prisoner himself, and to go barefoot and 
"naked," i.e.^ clad in a single scant tunic, for three 
years, at the end of which time his prophecy would 
be accomplished. The prophecy seems to have had 
its first accomplishment when, in B.C. 711, Ashdod 
revolted from Assyria, under promise of support from 
the Ethiopian Pharaoh of the period, and was cap- 
tured, with its garrison, which is likely to have con- 
sisted in part of Egyptians and Ethiopians. We are 
expressly told that the prisoners were on this occa- 
sion transported into Assyria, their place being supplied 
by captives taken in some of Sargon's eastern wars.^ 

Ten years later, in the reign of Sennacherib, there 
was another occasion of collision between Assyria and 
Egypt in a war provoked by the revolt of Ekron. In 
the battle of Eltekeh (b.c. 701) both Ethiopians and 
Egyptians are expressly declared to have been 
engaged, and many prisoners of both nations to have 
been taken.^ These were, no doubt, carried off by 
the conqueror. 

Later, in the wars of Esar-haddon and Asshur-bani- 
pal with Tirhakah, there must have been numerous 
occasions of a similar kind.^ The entire course of the 

^"Ancient Monarchies," vol. ii., p. 147. 
2 "Records of the Past," vol. i., pp. 36, 37. 

3 See Mr. George Smith's "History of Asshur-bani pal," pp. 16, 19, 
23, 54, etc. 


Struggle between Assyria on the one hand and 
Ethiopia and Egypt on the other was adverse to 
the latter peoples until the strength of Assyria col- 
lapsed at home, and she (about B.C. 650) withdrew 
her forces from Egypt to the defence of her own 

" Woe to the rebellious children, saith the L ord, that take counsel, 
but not of Me; and that cover with a covering, but not of My Spirit, 
that they may add sin to sin, that walk to go down into Egypt, and 
have not asked at My mouth, to strengthen themselves in the strength 
of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt ! Therefore shall the 
strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of 
Egypt your confusion. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassa- 
dors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people that could 
not profit them, nor be a help nor profit, but a shame and also a 
reproach. The burden of the beasts of the south : into the land of 
trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the 
viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the 
shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of 
camels, to a people that shall not profit them. For the Egyptians shall 
help in vain, and to no purpose ; therefore have I cried concerning this. 
Their strength is to sit still." — IsA. xxx. 1-7. 

" Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help ; and stay on horses, 
and trust in chariots, because they are many ; and in horsemen, because 
they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, 
neither seek the Lord ! . . . Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, 
and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out 
His hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is helper -shall fall 
down, and they all shall fall together. For thus hath the Lord spoken 
unto me. Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when 
a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be 
afraid of their voice nor abase himself for the noise of them ; so shall 
the Lord of hosts come down to fight for Mount Zion and for the hill 
thereof. As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem ; 
... He will preserve it." — IsA. xxxi. 1-5. 


Matters have now progressed a stage. Isaiah's 
warnings are not only unheeded, but set at nought. 
Alarmed at the advances that Sennacherib has made 
and is making, convinced, not perhaps without reason, 
that the policy of Assyria is to leave him the mere 
shadow of independence, Hezekiah has taken the final 
plunge. Declining to ask counsel of God's prophet 
(ver. i), he has sent ambassadors of high rank (ver. 4), 
accompanied by a train of camels and asses, laden with 
rich presents (ver. 6), to the court of the vassal 
Pharaoh to whom is committed the government of 
Lower Egypt. " His " (/. e., Hezekiah's) ** princes are 
at Zoan " (Tanis) ; *' his ambassadors have come to 
Hanes." He has made application for a force of 
chariots and cavalry (ch. xxxvi. 9). He has probably 
sent a prayer to the Ethiopian suzerain of the country, 
requesting him to move to his relief The thing is 
done, and cannot be undone ; and it remains only for the 
prophet to make a declaration, first, that it has been 
done against God's will (vers, i, 9, 12), and secondly, 
that it will be of no avail — nothing will come of it — 
the Egyptians will give no effectual help (vers. 5, 7). 
The historical chapters of Isaiah, especially chapters 
xxxvi. and xxxvii., are the sequel to this intimation. 
They show that Hezekiah received no help at all from 
the subordinate Pharaoh, who was probably Shabatok, 
and that though Tirhakah did move on his behalf 
(ch. xxxvii. 9), yet that he neither engaged the forces 
of Sennacherib, nor seriously troubled him. The relief 
of Hezekiah, and the relief of Egypt itself— whose 


subjection to Assyria was thereby deferred for a gen- 
eration — came from another quarter. When Hezekiah 
gave up his trust in any arm of flesh, and made his 
appeal to God, spreading before Him the blasphemous 
letter of Sennacherib (ibid., vers. 14-20), then Isaiah 
was commissioned to assure him of a miraculous 
deliverance. " Then " (" that night," 2 Kings xix. 35) 
" the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the 
camp of the Assyrians an hundred and fourscore and 
five thousand : and when they arose early in the 
morning, behold, they were all dead corpses " (Isa. 
xxxvii. 36). The deliverance itself, and its miraculous, 
or at any rate its marvellous character, was acknowl- 
edged by the Egyptians, no less than by the Israelites. 
When, two hundred and fifty years afterwards, Hero- 
dotus visited Egypt, he was informed that ** Senna- 
cherib, king of the Arabians and Assyrians, having 
marched a great army into Egypt, was met at Pelusium 
by the Egyptian monarch. As the two hosts lay 
there opposite one another, there came in the night a 
number of field-mice, which devoured all the quivers 
and bow strings of the enemy, and ate the thongs by 
which they managed their shields. Next morning 
they commenced their flight, and great multitudes fell, 
as they had no arms with which to defend themslves." * 

" In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language 
of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts; one shall be called the 
city of destruction. In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in 
the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to 

1 Herod, ii, 141. 


the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord 
of hosts in the land of Egypt : for they shall cry unto the Lord because 
of the oppressors, and He shall send them a saviour, and a great one, 
and he shall deliver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, 
and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacri- 
fice and oblation ; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and 
perform it. And the Lord shall smite Egypt : He shall smite and heal 
it ; and they shall return even to the Lord, and He shall be entreated 
of them, and He shall heal them." — Isa. xix. 18-22. 

This prophecy has been called a mere expression of 
Isaiah's earnest wish for the conversion of Egypt to 
the worship of the true God,^ but it is at any rate a 
wish which had a remarkable fulfilment. About the 
year B.C. 170, Onias, the son of Onias III., the high- 
priest, quitted Palestine, and sought refuge with 
Ptolemy Philometor, who readily protected him on 
account of the hostility between the two royal houses 
of Egypt and of Syria. While a refugee at his court, 
Onias, regarding the position of his brethren in Pales- 
tine, oppressed by Antiochus Epiphanes, as well-nigh 
hopeless, conceived the idea of founding and main- 
taining a temple in Egypt itself, which should be free 
from the corruptions then creeping in at Jerusalem, 
and should be a rallying-point to the Jewish nation, 
should the temple on Mount Zion be destroyed or 
made a heathen fane. Under these circumstances he 
made appeal to Ptolemy and his wife Cleopatra for the 
grant of a site. '* In the district of Heliopolis, a part 
of Egypt already consecrated by the memory of 
Moses (Gen. xli. 45), he had observed a spot where 

^ Stanley, " Lectures on the Jewish Church." Am. Ed., vol. iii., p. 223. 


a sanctuary of Bubastis (Pasht), a goddess of the 
country, was languishing among the thousand other 
Egyptian sanctuaries. This place he requested for 
himself, and it was reported that Ptolemy granted it 
with the jesting remark that he wondered how Onias 
could think of making a sanctuary out of a spot 
which, though inhabited by sacred animals, was yet in 
the Judaean sense polluted, for the animals were 
among those reckoned unclean by the Judaeans. In 
the sanctuary itself was placed an altar resembling that 
at Jerusalem. Instead of the seven-lighted candle- 
stick, which seems to have been regarded as too holy 
to be imitated, a single golden lamp was suspended in 
it by a golden chain. The sacred house was built 
somewhat in the form of a tower " — the general style 
of the building being apparently not Jewish, but 
Egyptian * — " the fore-court was enclosed with a wall 
of brick and gates of stone, and the whole of the 
fortified little town, with the district which gathered 
round the temple, was probably called Oneion."^ 

This temple continued to exist from B.C. 170 to B.C. 
73, when it was destroyed by the Romans. It was 
greatly venerated by the bulk of the Egyptian Jews, 
who brought thither their sacrifices and their offerings. 
Jews flocked to the towns in its neighbourhood ; and 
it may well be, though the actual fact cannot be 
proved, that then at least " five cities in the land of 

^ Stanley, " Lectures on the Jewish Church, Am. Ed., vol. iii., p. 222. 
"Ewald, "History of Israel," vol. v., p. 356, E. T. Compare 
Joseph., "Ant. Jud.," xiii. 3, ^ 2, 


Egypt spoke " (Hebrew) " the language of Canaan," one 
of them being Ir-ha-kheres, " the city of the sun," the 
ancient Heliopolis.^ At the same time the great 
synagogue of Alexandria, at the extreme "border" of 
the land, where it was most commonly approached by 
strangers, stood '* as a pillar " (ch. xix. 19) " for a sign 
and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts," showine 
that Jehovah was worshipped in the land openly, and 
with the goodwill of the Government, and indicating 
that Egypt — so long Jehovah's enemy — had been at 
least partially, converted to His service. 

1 See Mr. R. S. Poole's article on IR-HA-HERES in Smith's "Diet, 
of the Bible," vol. i., p. 870. 




The prophecies of Jeremiah have suffered greatly by 
disarrangement ; and the historical notices which they 
contain, more especially those that concern Egypt, are 
wholly out of their proper chronological order. We 
propose, therefore, to follow the actual order of time 
rather than that of Jeremiah's chapters according to 
our translators' arrangement,^ and we consequently 
commence with one of the latest of his notices, 
namely, that contained in the earlier portion of his 
forty-sixth chapter : — 

" The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah the prophet against 
the Gentiles, against Eg)-pt, against the army of Pharaoh-Necho, king 
of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which 
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, smote in the fourth year of Jehoia- 
kim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah. Order ye the buckler and 
shield, and draw near to battle. Harness the horses ; and get up, ye 
horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets ; furbish the spears, and 
put on the brigandines. Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and 
turned away back ? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled 
apace, and look not back : for fear was round about, saith the Lord. 

1 Our translators follbw the Hebrew. The Septuagint arrangement is 
quite different. 


Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape ; they shall 
stumble and fall towards the north, by the river Euphrates. Who is 
this that Cometh up as a flood, whose watei-s are moved as the rivers ? 
Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers , 
and he saith, I will go up and cover the earth ; I will destroy the city 
and the inhabitants thereof. Come up, ye horses, and rage, ye chariots ; 
and let the mighty men come forth ; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, 
that handle the shield ; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow. 
For this is the day of the Lprd God of hosts, a day of vengeance, that 
he may avenge him of his adversaries ; and the sword shall devour, and 
it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood ; for the Lord God 
of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north countiy by the river Euphrates. 
Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt ; in 
vain shalt thou use many medicines ; for thou shalt not be cured. The 
nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land ; for 
the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen 
both together." — Jer. xlvi. 1-12. 

In this passage we have the fullest account that has 
come down to us of one of the most important among 
the " decisive battles of the world." The contending 
powers are Egypt and Babylon, the contending princes 
Neko (Pharaoh-Necho), the son of Psamatik I., and 
Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabopolassar — the 
founder of the second empire of the Chaldaeans. We 
have already seen^ how Neko, having (in B.C. 608) 
defeated Josiah, king of Judah, at Megiddo, on the 
border of the great plain of Esdraelon, pressed for- 
ward to meet the " house with which he had war at 
Carchemish by Euphrates" (2 Chron. xxxv. 20). 
Complete success for the time attended his expedition. 
He made himself master of the whole tract of terri- 

^See p. 271. 



tory intervening between the ** river of Egypt" (Wady- 
el-Arish) on the one hand and the river Euphrates on 
the other (2 Kings xxiv. 7). Syria in its widest extent, 
Phoenicia, Philistia, and Judaea submitted to him. It 
seemed as if the days of the Thothmeses and Amen- 
hoteps were about to return, and Egypt to be once 
more the predominant power in the Eastern world, 
the " lady of nations," the sovereign at one and the 
same time of Africa and of Asia. Had Babylon 
acquiesced in the loss of territory, her prestige would 
have been gone, and her empire would probably have 
soon crumbled into dust. Egypt and Media would 
have stood face to face as the two rivals for supremacy ; 
and possibly the entire course of the world's later 
history might have been changed. 

But Nabopolassar appreciated aright the importance 
of the crisis, and before Egypt had had time to con- 
solidate her power in the newly conquered provinces, 
resolved on making a great effort to recover them. In 
the year b. c. 605 — three years after Neko's great succes3 
— having collected his troops and made his prepara- 
tions, he sent his son and heir, Nebuchadnezzar, at the 
head of a large army, to reconquer the lost territory. 
Nebuchadnezzar marched upon Carchemish, the strong 
frontier fortress near the Euphrates, which had origin- 
ally been the capital of the early Hittite kingdom, and 
the site of which is now marked by the ruins called 
"Jerablus" or "Jerabus."^ Here he found Neko 
encamped at the head of a considerable force, in part, 

^ Sayce, ** Ancient Empires of the East," American Edition, p. 214. 


no doubt, Egyptians, but mainly Ethiopians, Libyans, 
and Greco-Carians from Asia Minor, perhaps the 
" Lydians " of Jeremiah (ver. 9).^ The battle poetic- 
ally described by Jeremiah was fought. The Egyp- 
tian force of foot, horse, and chariots was completely 
defeated; a great carnage took place (ver. 10); and 
the few survivors fled away in dismay (ver. 5), evac- 
uating province after province, and retiring within 
their own frontier. Nebuchadnezzar followed on their 
traces, at least as far south as Jerusalem, where he 
received the submission of Jehoiakim (2 Kings xxiv. 
i), and from which he carried off a portion of the 
temple treasures (Dan. i. i). He would probably have 
gone further and invaded Egypt had not news reached 
him (late in B.C. 605) of his father's decease, which 
necessitated his own immediate return to his capital. 
Accompanied by a small force lightly equipped, he 
crossed the desert by way of Damascus and Tadmor, 
while the heavy-armed troops, the baggage, and the 
prisoners made their way to Babylon by the usual but 
circuitous route, down the valley of the Orontes, across 
Northern Syria to Carchemish, and then along the 
banks of the Euphrates. 

We have one profane account of this expedition, 
entering far less into details than Jeremiah, but in 
complete accord with his statements, and supplying 

^"Lud" in the Hebrew Scriptures ordinarily designates an African 
people (see Gen. x. 13; i Chron. i. 11 ; Isa. Ixvi. 19; Ezek. xxx. 5). 
But here the "Lydians" may be meant. Gyges had furnished the 
original Greco-Carian force. 


various points of interest, which have been worked 
into the above narrative. The Babylonian historian, 
Berosus,^ as quoted by Josephus, says, speaking of 
Nebuchadnezzar: "When his father, Nabopolassar, 
heard that the satrap appointed to govern Egypt, and 
the districts of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, had revolted 
from him, as he was not himself able any longer to 
endure hardships, he assigned a certain portion of his 
army to his son, Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the 
flower of his youth, and sent him against the rebel. 
And when Nebuchadnezzar had fallen in with him, 
and engaged him in battle, he defeated him, and from 
this beginning proceeded to bring the country under 
his own rule. Now it chanced that his father, Nabo- 
polassar, just at this time fell sick, and departed this 
life, having reigned one-and-twenty years. Nebuchad- 
nezzar shortly after heard of his father's decease, and, 
having arranged the affairs of Egypt and the other 
countries, and appointed certain of his friends to con- 
duct to Babylon the captives which he had taken from 
the Jews, the Phoenicians, the Syrians, and the parts 
about Egypt, together with the heavy-armed troops 
and the baggage, started himself with a very small 
escort, and, travelling by the way of the wilderness, 
reached Babylon. 

" The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against 
the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza. Thus saith the Lord, 
Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing 
flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein ; the city and 

1 Fr. 14 in the " Fr. Hist. Gr." of C. Muller, vol. ii., p. 506. 


them that dwell therein ; then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants 
of the land shall howl. At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of 
his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of 
his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feeble- 
ness of hands ; because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philis- 
tines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth ; 
for the Lord will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of 
Caphtor. Baldness is come upon Gaza ; Ashkelon is cut off with the 
remnant of their valley : how long wilt thou cut thyself? O thou sword 
of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet ? Put up thyself into 
thy scabbard ; rest and be still. How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord 
hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea-shore ? 
There hath He appointed it."-— Jer. xlvii. I-7. 

We are, first of all, informed here that a certain 
prophecy was delivered, " before that Pharaoh smote 
Gaza." In this statement it is implied that, at some 
date in the ministry of Jeremiah, the strong Philistine 
town of Gaza (Jud. xvi. 1-3) was taken by a king of 
Egypt. Now the kings of Egypt contemporary with 
Jeremiah's ministry would seem to have been Psamatik 
I., Neko, Psamatik II., and Uaphra or " Pharaoh- 
Hophra." Does it appear from profane sources that 
Gaza was besieged and taken by any one of these 
monarchs ? 

This question may be answered in the affirmative. 
Herodotus tells us that after the battle of Magdolum 
(Megiddo), Neko took " Kadytis," a large city in 
Syria.^ This Kadytis he afterwards describes as lying 
upon the coast between Phoenicia and Lake Serbonis.^ 
It was at one time identified with Jerusalem, because 

1 Herod., ii. 159. 2 jbid., iii. 5. 


the Arabs call that city " Al Kods " — " the Holy " ; 
and more recently it has been conjectured to represent 
the Hittite city of " Cadesh " on the Orontes ; ^ but its 
position on or near the sea militates against both these 
hypotheses. Gaza is called " Gazetu " in the hiero- 
glyphical inscriptions of Egypt,^ and " Khazitu " in 
the cuneiform inscriptions of Assyria, of which forms 
" Kadytis " is a fair rendering. Hence recent editors 
of Herodotus regard it as " plain " that the Kadytis, 
which he says that Neko took, was Gaza.^ 

It is doubtful whether the remainder of the prophecy 
refers in any way to Egypt. The " waters that rise up 
out of the north " are usually taken by the commen- 
tators for the army of Nebuchadnezzar, either when 
he invaded Syria after the battle of Carchemish (b. c. 
605), or subsequently when he advanced to the sieges 
of Jerusalem and Tyre (b.c. 598). The description in 
ver. 3 would suit a Babylonian army as well as an 
Egyptian, and the characteristic of " noise " seems to 
belong to Babylon especially (chs. iv. 29; viii. 16; 
Ezek. xxvi. 10). There is not, however, any distinct 
evidence that Nebuchadnezzar at any time led a hostile 
expedition into Philistia, while we know of Neko that 
he did so ; and as his expedition seems to have been 
made on his return from Carchemish, his army would 
on this occasion have " risen up out of the north " 

^Lenormant, "Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne," vol. ii., p. 391. 
'^''Records of the Past," vol. ii., p. 115; Brugseh, «*Geschichte 
CEgyptens," p. 295. 

^ Sayce, "Ancient Empires," American Edition, p. 55. 


(ver. 2). The note of time in ver. i is also more apposite 
if Neko's expedition is intended, since the prophet 
would then have inserted the date, in order to draw- 
attention to the fact that his prophecy of a great inva- 
sion of Philistia was delivered before the event. 

" And King Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, reigned instead of Coniah, 
the son of Jehoiakim. . . . Then Pharaoh's army was come forth out 
of Egypt; and when the Chaldaeans that besieged Jerusalem heard 
tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem. Then came the word 
of the Lord unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying. Thus saith the Lord, 
the God of Israel, Thus shall ye say unto the king of Judah, that sent 
you to inquire of me, Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to 
help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. And the Chal- 
dseans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and 
burn it with fire." — Jer. xxxvii. i-io. 

" He (Zedekiah) rebelled against him (Nebuchadnezzar) in sending 
his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much 
people. Shall he prosper ? Shall he escape that doeth such things ? 
Or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered ? As I live, saith the 
Lord, surely in the place v/here the king dwelleth that made him king, 
whose oath he despised, even with him in the midst of Babylon he 
shall die. Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great 
company make for him in the war, by casting mounts and building 
forts, to cut off many persons." — Ezek. xvii. 15-17. 

The Pharaoh contemporary with the later years of 
Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, who reigned from 
B.C. 597 to B.C. 586, was undoubtedly Ua-ap-ra,^ whom 
the Greeks called " Apries,"^ and whom Jeremiah in 

1 Brugsch (" Geschichte CEgyptens," p. 734) gives the name as 
« Uah-ab-ra," Birch ("Egypt from the Earliest Times," p. 180) as 
«' Uah-hap-ra." 

2 Herod., ii. 161 ; Diod. Sic, i. 68. Manetho, however, calls him 
«« Uaphris." 


one place speaks of as " Pharaoh-Hophra " (ch. xliv. 
30). Apries ascended the throne in B.C. 591, and 
reigned alone nineteen years (to B.C. 572), after which 
he was for six years more joint-king with Amasis.^ It 
would seem that very soon after his accession Zede- 
kiah made overtures to him for an alliance (Ezek. xvii. 
15), transferring to him the allegiance which he owed 
to Babylon, and making a request for a large body of 
troops, horse and foot (ibid.). It is in accordance with 
the bold and aggressive character assigned to Apries 
by the Greeks^ to find that he at once accepted Zede- 
kiah's offer, and prepared to bear his part in the war. 
" Pharaoh's army went forth out of Egypt " (Jer. 
xxxvii. 5) with the object of "helping" Zedekiah 
(ibid. ver. 7) ; and the movement was so far successful 
that the army of the Chaldaeans, which had commenced 
the siege of Jerusalem, ** broke up from before it for 
fear of Pharaoh's army " (ibid. ver. 11). Nebuchad- 
nezzar, who was directing the siege, marched away to 
encounter the Egyptians, and either terrified them into 
a retreat, or actually engaged and defeated them.^ The 
foundation was thus laid of that enmity between the 
two kings which, later in Egyptian history, is found to 
have had very important consequences. Apries, for 
the time, submitted, and led his army back within his 
own frontier, leaving the unfortunate Jewish monarch 
to his fate. 

* Wiedemann, " Geschichte CEgyptens," p. 121. 
2 Herod. 1. s. c. ; Diod. Sic, 1. s. c, 

* So Josephus, " Ant. Jud.,*' x, 7, | 3. 


" Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, 
saying, Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in 
the brick-kiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes, 
in the sight of the men of Judah ; and say unto them, Thus saith the 
Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will send and take Nebu- 
chadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne 
upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal 
pavilion over them. And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of 
Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death ; and such as are for 
captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword. 
And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and 
he shall burn them, and carry them away captives; and he shall 
array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his 
garment ; and he shall go forth from thence in peace. He shall break 
also the images of Beth-shemesh, that is in the land of Egypt ; and 
the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire." — 
Jer. xliii. 8-13. 

" The word that the Lord spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Neb- 
uchadnezzar, king of Babylon, should come and smite the land of 
Egypt. Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in 
Noph and in Tahpanhes ; say ye. Stand fast, and prepare thee ; for the 
sword shall devour round about thee. Why are thy valiant men swept 
away ? They stood not because the Lord did drive them. He made 
many to fall ; yea, one fell upon another ; and they said, Arise, and let 
us go again to our own people and to the land of our nativity from the 
oppressing sword. They did cry there, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is but a 
noise; he hath passed the time appointed. . . . Othou daughter dwell- 
ing in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity ; for Noph shall be waste 
and desolate without an inhabitant. Egypt is like a very fair heifer ; 
but destruction cometh ; it cometh out of the north. Also her hired 
men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks ; for they also are 
turned back and are fled away together; they did not stand, because the 
day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visi- 
tation. . . . The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel saith, Behold, I will 
punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Eg}'pt, with their gods, 
and their kings ; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him ; and I 
v/ill deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into 



the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and into the hand of 
his servants : and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, 
saith the Lord." — Jer. xlvi. 13-26. 

On the fact of there having been at least one in- 
vasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar subsequently 
to his capture of Jerusalem in b. c. 586, it is only 
necessary to refer the reader to Chapter VII. of this 
work. It was there shown that two wholly inde- 
pendent documents, one Egyptian, the other Baby- 
lonian, prove the invasion to have taken place, while 
the Egyptian one, though seeking to minimize the suc- 
cess of the invaders, necessarily implies an occupation 
of the whole of Egypt. The general Hor, who is 
" governor of the regions of the south," admits that 
the Asiatics penetrated to the extreme southern border 
of Egypt (comp. Ezek. xxix. 10; xxx. 6), and claims 
credit for not having " let them adv^ance quite into 
Nubia." ^ His account of his careful restoration of 
the temple of Kneph at Elephantine ^ indicates that it 
had suffered damage at the hands of the invaders, and 
is a comment on the expression " the houses of the 
gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire " (Jer. 
xliii. 13). The representation of the army by which 
Egypt was defended as one of " hired " men (ibid, 
xlvi. 21), who said one to another, when they were 
defeated, " Arise, and let us go again to our own people 
and to the land of our nativity from the oppressing 
sword" (ibid. ver. 16), accords well with all that we 

* " Records of the Past," vol. vi., p. 83. 
2 Ibid., p. 82, lines 25, 36, 40. 


know of the Egyptian military force of the time, which 
consisted, not of native soldiers, but of foreign mer- 
cenaries, Ethiopians, Libyans, Carians, and Greeks.^ 
The date of the expedition, Nebuchadnezzar's thirty- 
seventh year,^ or b.c. 568, falls exactly into the time 
when Apries and Amasis were joint-kings of Egypt, 
and explains the apparent discrepancy between the two 
documents, one of which speaks of Apries as king, 
while the other certainly did not name Apries, and 
probably named Amasis. ^ The conjoint reign would 
even seem to be indicated by the mention of " kings " 
in ch. xlvi. 25. 

" I will give Pharaoh-Hophra, king of Egypt, into the hand of his 
enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life, as I gave Zede- 
kiah, king of Judah, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, 
his enemy, and that sought his life." — Jer. xl. 30. 

There would seem to be no doubt that this prophecy 
was fulfilled to the letter, and that Pharaoh-Hophra 
(Ua-apra) fell into the power of his enemies and suf- 
fered a violent death. But it is not altogether clear 
who these enemies were, or how his death was brought 
about. Herodotus relates* that the reverses which 
befell him arose out of an unsuccessful expedition 
against Cyrene, in which Apries was thought to have 

1 Herod, ii. 163 ; Jer. xlvi. 9, etc. 

2 " Transactions of Society of Biblical Archaeology," vol. vii., p. 222. 

3 The name is partially obliterated, but evidently ended in -su. The 
Egyptian name of Amasis, Aahmes, terminated in s. That of Apries, 
Ua-ap-ra, contained no s. 

♦Herod., ii., 161-163. 



intentionally sacrificed the lives of some thousands of 
his soldiers. A mutiny followed, and Amasis, having 
been sent to put it down, was induced to place himself 
at its head. The result was a civil war, in which the 
rebel chief was successful. Apries fell into his hands, 
and was at first treated with kindness, allowed to in- 
habit the royal palace ^ and (we must suppose) to retain 
the title of king. But after six years, during which 
both monarchs reigned, but Amasis alone governed, 
dissatisfaction with this condition of things showed 
itself among the Egyptians, who persuaded Amasis to 
allow them to put Apries to death. The story is not, 
intrinsically, very probable ; and it is contradicted by 
Josephus, who ascribes the execution of Apries to 
Nebuchadnezzar.^ That monarch may not improbably 
have borne Apries a grudge on account of the aid 
which he gave to Zedekiah, and also of his aggressions 
upon the Phoenician cities,^ and, though the adversary 
with whom he contended in the field may have been 
Amasis, he may yet have let his main vengeance fall 
upon Apries, whom he no doubt looked on as a 
rebel, as he had looked upon Neko/ Amasis may 
have obtained easier terms of peace by the surrender 
of his fellow-king, or may even have been allowed to 
retain the throne in consequence of his complaisance. 
Most probably he accepted the position of a vassal 
monarch, a position which he may have retained until 
Nabonidus was threatened by Cyrus (b.c. 547), or 

1 Herod., ii., 169. 2 "Ant. Jud.," x. 9, § 7. 

3 Herod., ii. 161 ; Died. Sic, i. 68. * Berosus, Fr. 14. 


even until the fall of Babylon in B.C. 538. During 
this period Egypt was a ** base kingdom " (Ezek. xxix. 
14), ''the basest of the kingdoms" (ibid. ver. 15), if 
its former exaltation was kept in view. 



The notices of Egypt in the Book of Daniel have the 
peculiarity that they are absolutely and entirely pro- 
phetical Daniel is not individually brought into any 
contact with Egypt ; nor does Egypt play any part in 
the stirring events of the time wherein he lives. 
Egypt had, in fact, fallen to the rank of a very second- 
rate power after the battle of Carchemish (b. c. 605), 
and counted for little in the political struggles of the 
time, which had for their locality the great Iranian 
plateau, together with the broad valley of the Tigris 
and the Euphrates. Daniel, who was contemporary, 
as he tells us (chs. i.-vL), with Nebuchadnezzar, Bel- 
shazzar, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Great, must 
have died about B.C. 534, or at any rate before B.C. 
529 — the year of Cyrus' decease. His notices of 
Egypt belong to a date more than two centuries later. 
It is given him to see in vision a sort of sketch of the 
history of the world from his own time to the coming 
of the Kingdom of the Messiah ; and in this "Apoca- 
lyptic Vision," or rather series of visions, the future 
of Egypt is placed before him, in some detail, during 


a space of some century and a half, from about B.C. 
323 to about B.C. 168. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that the genuineness 
and authenticity of the entire Book of Daniel have 
been fiercely assailed, both in remote times and in our 
own day. But the arguments of the assailants have 
never been regarded as of any weight by the Church ; 
and the Book has maintained its place in the Canon 
through all ecclesiastical ages and throughout Chris- 
tendom. It is impossible in a volume like the present 
to enter into this great controversy, which has 
employed the pens of more than twenty critics of 
repute during the present century, and which cannot 
be said to have been set at rest even by the admirable 
labours of Auberlen, Hengstenberg, and Pusey. We 
shall here, of necessity, assume the genuineness and 
authenticity of the Book, and especially of the chapter 
(ch. xi.) which bears upon the history of Egypt ; we 
shall regard it, not as a vaticiniiim post eventum — 
the composition of a nameless author in the time of 
Antiochus Epiphanes — ^but as the genuine utterance 
of Daniel himself in the year to which he assigns it — 
" the first year of Darius the Mede " (ch. xi. i), or B.C. 
538-7. As the prophecy is too long to be conveni- 
ently treated as a whole, we shall break it up into 
portions, and endeavour to show how far its various 
parts are confirmed or illustrated by profane authors. 

« Now I will shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet 
three kings in Persia ; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all ; 
and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the 


realm of Giecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that sh^all rule with 
great dominion, and do according to his will, and when he shall stand 
up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the 
four winds of heaven ; and not to his posterity, nor according to the 
dominion which he ruled ; for his kingdom shall be plucked up, 
even for others beside those." — Dan. xi. 2-4. 

This first section of the prophecy has no direct 
bearing upon Egypt. Its object is to bridge the inter- 
val between the date of the vision and the point at 
which the history of Egypt is to be taken up. The 
date of the vision is B.C. 538-7, the first year of Darius 
the Mede in Babylon, and the first of Cyrus (by whom 
Darius had been set up) in Persia. Egyptian history 
is to be taken up from b. c. 323, at which point, after 
a long period of subjection to Persia, Egypt became 
once more an independent and important kingdom. 
What are to be the main events, the great land-marks, 
of the interval ? The angel who speaks to Daniel 
thus enumerates them, (i) There will be three kings 
in Persia, followed by a fourth richer and stronger 
than any of them, who will lead a great expedition 
into Greece. (2) A mighty king will stand up, greater 
apparently then even the Persian kings, who will " rule 
with great dominion, and do according to his will." 
(3) After this king has " stood up " for a while, his 
kingdom will be broken, " divided toward the four 
winds of heaven," not descending to his posterity, 
either as a whole, or in any of its fragments, but fall- 
ing into the hands of '* others beside those," i. ^., of 
persons not his descendants. Now, profane history 


relates ^ that three kings ruled in Persia after Cyrus the 
Great, viz., Cambyses (from b. c. 529 to b. c. 522), Bardes 
or Smerdis (during seven months of B.C. 522), and 
Darius, the son of Hystaspes (from b. c. 521 to B.C. 486); 
and that these were then followed by Xerxes, the son of 
Darius,^ under whom Persia was at the height of its 
power and prosperity, until in his fifth year he " stirred 
up all against the realm of Grecia," and made that great 
expedition, which still remains one of the most marvel- 
lous events in the world's entire history. This expe- 
dition fell into B. c. 480, and was followed by a gradual 
diminution of Persian power, and by wars of no great 
moment, until, in b.c 335, a " mighty king" stood up, 
viz., Alexander the Great, who ruled a greater dominion 
than had been held by any previous monarch, since it 
reached from the Adriatic to the Sutlej, and from the 
Danube to Syene. The wide sovereignty and auto- 
cratic pride of Alexander are well expressed by the 
words " that shall rule with great dominion and do 
according to his will" (ver. 3) ; for Alexander brooked 
no restraint, and was practically a more absolute despot 
than any Persian king had ever been. At his death, 
as is well known, his kingdom was *' broken up." 
Though he left behind him an illegitimate son, Hercu- 
les, and had also a posthumous child by Roxana, 
called Alexander, yet neither of these ever succeeded 
to any portion of his dominions. These fell at first to 

^ See especially Herod., ii. I ; iii. 67, 88, confirmed by the Behistun 

2 Herod, vii. 4 et seqq. 


the ten generals, Ptolemy, Pithon, Antigonus, Eumenes, 
Leonnatus, Lysimachus, Menander, Asander, Philotas, 
Laomedon, and ultimately to Ptolemy, Seleucus, Anti- 
pater, Antigonus, Eumenes^ Clitus, and Cassander. 

" And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes 
[and he] shall be strong above him, and have dominion ; his dominion 
shall be a great dominion. And in the end of years they shall join 
themselves together ; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to 
the king of the north to make an a.greement ; but she shall not retain 
the power of the arm ; neither shall he stand, nor his ann ; but she 
shall be given up and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and 
he that strengthened her in these times." (Dan. xi. 5, 6.) 

That the King of Egypt is meant by " the King of 
the South " might be presumed from the fact that 
Egypt formed the most southern portion of the 
dominions of Alexander;^ but it is placed beyond 
dispute or cavil by the mention of Egypt as the 
country to which the King of the South carried his 
captives, in verse 8. Profane history shows us that, 
after the death of Alexander (b. c. 323), Ptolemy Lagi, 
who had governed Egypt as Alexander's lieutenant, 
from its conquest (b.c. 332) assumed the regal autho- 
rity, and after a little time the regal name, in that 
country, and ruled it from B.C. 323 to B.C. 283 — a 
space of forty years.^ He is justly characterised as 
** strong," since he was able to enlarge his original 

^ The mouths of the Indus are about parallel with the most southern 
portion of Egypt, but though visited by Alexander, they can hardly be 
regarded as within his permanent dominions. 

^Grote, "History of Greece," vol. viii., p. 533; Heeren, "Manual 
of Ancient History," p. 249. 


territories by the addition of Phoenicia, Palestine, 
Cyprus, and the Cyrenaica; and, though he was some- 
times defeated, he was upon the whole one of the most 
warlike and successful of the princes among whom 
Alexander's kingdom was partitioned. Another, 
however, of the princes is truly said to have been 
''strong above him." The Syrian was undoubtedly 
the greatest of the kingdoms into which the Mace- 
donian monarchy became broken up ; and Seleucus 
Nicator, its first ruler, was a more powerful sovereign 
than Ptolemy Lagi. Seleucus ruled from the Medi- 
terranean to the Indus and from the Jaxartes to the 
Indian Ocean, having thus a territory five or six times 
as large as that of Ptolemy. His dominion was 
emphatically " a great dominion." It was the repre- 
sentative in Western Asia of the Great Monarchy 
which had existed in that region from 4:he time of 
Nimrod, and exceeded in dimensions every such mon- 
archy except the Persian. Seleucus and Ptolemy 
Lagi maintained on the whole friendly relations ; and 
the struggle between the kings of the north and of the 
south was deferred to the reigns of their successors. 

Daniel's statement that " in the end of years " the 
kings of the north and of the south " shall join them- 
selves together " implies a previous rupture and 
struggle, which is found to have taken place in the 
reigns of Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus) and Antiochus 
Soter. A permanent jealousy, and many occasional 
causes of quarrel, set the two powers in hostility the 
one to the other; and in B.C. 269 Antiochus made an 


expedition against Egypt, which resulted in complete 
failure/ leaving a stain on the Syrian arms which it 
was regarded as necessary to efface. Antiochus II. 
(Theus) consequently renewed the war in b. c. 260, and 
a long contest followed without any very decided 
advantage to either side, until, in B.C. 250, negotiations 
for peace were set on foot — the two kings " associated 
themselves" (marginal rendering), and in the following 
year (b. c. 269) it was arranged that Ptolemy II. should 
give his daughter, Berenice, in marriage to Antiochus 
Theus, who repudiated his previous wife, Laodice, in 
order to make way for her.^ The wedding took place ; 
and thus " the king's daughter of the south came to 
the king of the north to make (i. e., cement) an agree- 
ment" (verse 6). But the well-meant attempt at peace 
failed. In B.C. 247, on the death of Ptolemy II., 
Antiochus Theus repudiated his Egyptian wife, and 
recalled Laodice, who shortly poisoned her husband, 
and caused Berenice also to be put to death. ^ Thus 
this princess " did not retain the power of the arm " 
(/. e., the secular authority) ; neither did her husband 
retain his power, or "stand." The attempted arrange- 
ment entirely fell through. Berenice herself and her 
son (" he whom she brought forth," marginal rendering) 
suffered death ; and the entire party concerned in the 
transaction were discredited and placed under a cloud. 

^ Heeren, p. 236 ; Smith, " Diet, of Greek and Roman Biography," 
vol. iii., p. 586. 

=^ Hieronym. ed. Dan. xi. 6; Polyb. v. 18, \ 10 ; Athen. " Deipn." 
ii., p. 45. 

^ Heeren, 1. s. c. 



" But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, 
which shall come with an araiy, and shall enter into the fortress of the 
king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail ; and 
shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and 
with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue 
more years than the king of the north." (Dan. xi. 7, 8.) 

There are some errors of translation in this passage 
which require to be removed before its statements can 
be properly compared with those of profane historians. 
Modern criticism thus renders the passage : ^ *' But a 
branch of her roots shall rise up in his place, which shall 
come against the host, and enter into the strong places 
of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and 
shall prevail ; and shall also carry captive into Egypt 
their gods, with their images, and with their precious 
vessels of silver and of gold, and [then] for some years 
he shall stand aloof from the king of the north." 
History tells us that a branch from the same roots as 
Berenice, her brother Ptolemy Euergetes, in the year 
after her murder (b. c. 245), made war upon Seleucus 
11. (Callinicus), the son of Antiochus Theus and 
Laodice, who was implicated in the bloody deed, and, 
having invaded Syria, made himself master of vari- 
ous "strong places" in the country, as especially 
of Seleucia near Antioch, a most important city.^ 
He " prevailed " in the wars most completely, 
capturing Antioch, and reducing to temporary sub- 
jection the whole of the Eastern provinces — Meso- 

1 See the " Speaker's Commentar)^" vol. vi., pp. 374, 375. 
2Polyb., v. 58, I II. 


potamia, Babylonia, Susiana, Media, and Persia.^ He 
stated in an inscription which he set up at Adule, 
that among the treasures which he carried off from 
Asia were holy relics {Itpa) removed from Egypt by 
the Persians,^ and no doubt, together with these, he 
would, like other conquerors, include in his booty the 
" gods and images " of the defeated nations. After 
the war had lasted four years, Euergetes " stood 
aloof" from the king of the north, consenting, on 
account of some internal troubles in his own dominions, 
to conclude a truce with Callinicus for ten years. 

" But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of 
great forces; and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass 
through ; then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. 
And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come 
forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north : and he shall 
set forth a great multitude ; but the multitude shall be given into his 
hand. And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be 
lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands ; but he shall not 
be strengthened by it." (Dan. xi. 10-12.) 

The construction of the Hebrew is such as to 
render it uncertain, whose sons are intended in the 
opening clause of this passage, whether those of the 
king of the north or of the south. The nexus, how- 
ever, of the clause with those that follow makes it 
tolerably clear that the attack this time is on the part 
of the northern monarch, against whom the king of 
the south *' comes forth, moved with choler " (verse 

* See the " Inscription of Adule," quoted by Clinton (** Fasti Helli- 
nici," vol. iii., page 383, note). 
2 Ibid. 


11), anxious to repel what he regards as an unpro- 
voked assault. Now Callinicus had two sons, who 
reigned one after the other — Seleucus III. (Ceraunus) 
from B.C. 226 to 223, and Antiochus III. (the Great) 
from B.C. 223 to 187. Of these the elder, Seleucus, is 
said by Jerome ^ to have invaded Egypt in combi- 
nation with his brother, Antiochus, and to have wa^ed 
a war with Euergetes ; but the silence of profane 
historians throws some doubt on this statement. 
" One " of the sons, however, Antiochus the Great, 
most *^ certainly," " came, and overflowed, and passed 
through " the territories of Egypt, attacking Ptolemy 
Philopator, the son of Euergetes, with great vigour 
in B.C. 219, and in B.C. 218 repeatedly defeating his 
forces, and conquering the greater part of Palestine, 
including Samaria and Gilead.^ From these conquests 
he "returned" for the winter to "his fortress" of 
Ptolema'is,^ whence he made great efforts to have 
everything in readiness for a further attack upon his 
adversary in the ensuing year. In the spring he set 
forth on his march southward, passed through Gaza, 
and encamped at Raphia (now Refah), a small town 
near the coast, on the road to Egypt. ^ Meanwhile 
Philopator, " moved with choler," had quitted Alex- 
andria, at the head of an army of 75,000 men, 
supported by seventy-three elephants, and had marched 
to Pelusium, whence, after resting a few days, he 
proceeded along the coast to Rhinocolura, and thence 

1 " Comment, in Dan,," xi. 10. 2 polyb., v. 59-70. 

3 Ibid., V. 71, § II. * Ibid., V. 80, § 4. 



toward Raphia, where he encamped over against the 
army of Antiochus. The Syrian forces were some- 
what less numerous than his own, amounting to only 
68,000, but they were stronger in cavalry and in 
elephants. After some unimportant skirmishing, the 
two hosts engaged each other ; and though the Syrian 
right defeated the Eg^'ptian left, and the Asiatic ele- 
phants of Antiochus proved greatly superior to the 
African ones of his adversary, yet the battle resulted 
in a decisive victory for the Egyptians, who slew ten 
thousand of the enemy, and took above four thousand 
prisoners.^ The Syrian " multitude" was thus ** given 
into Ptolemy's hand," and a portion of it " taken 
away " into Egypt. His victory naturally " lifted up" 
Ptolemy's *' heart ;" he was greatly elated, and is said 
after the battle to have " abandoned himself to a life 
of licentiousness."" No real advantage resulted to 
him from his having " cast down many ten thousands ;" 
the Syrian kingdom remained more powerful than his 
own, and was certain to revenge the defeat of Raphia 
when a favourable opportunity offered. 

" The king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude 
greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years 
with a great army and with much riches. And in those times shall 
there many stand up against the king of the south ; also the robbers of 
thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision ; but they shall 
fall. So the king of the north shall come and cast up a mount and 
take the most fenced cities, and the arms of the south shall not with- 
stand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to 
withstand. But he that cometh against him shall do according to his 

^ Polyb., V. 81-86. 2 u Speaker's Commentary," vol. vi., p, 376. 


own will, and none shall stand before him ; and he shall stand in the 
glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed. He shall also set 
his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright 
ones with him ; thus shall he do ; and he shall give him the daughter 
of women, corrupting her ; but she shall not stand on his side, neither 
be for him." (Dan. xi. 13-17.) 

In B. c. 204, thirteen years after the battle of Raphia, 
Antiochus the Great *' returned " to the attack upon 
Egypt. Having made alhance with Phihp III. of 
Macedon,^ he invaded Caele-Syria and Palestine with 
a great army,^ and with the good v/ill of the inhab- 
itants, whom the cruelties and exactions of Philopator 
had disgusted, occupied the entire region to the 
borders of Egypt — " the robbers (rather " captains ") 
of the Jewish people joining with him to establish the 
vision." A turn in the war subjected these rebels to 
the vengeance of Ptolemy, who recovered Jerusalem 
in B.C. 200, and took severe measures against the 
inhabitants.^ Two years later Antiochus once more 
gathered his forces, and marched southward. One 
after another the strongholds of Syria and Palestine 
fell into his hands. " The arms of the south " were 
not able to "withstand" him.^ At Panias, near the 
sources of the Jordan, he entirely defeated Scopas, 
the chief general of the Egyptian monarch ; ^ after 
which he besieged him in Sidon, which he took, and a 

^ Polyb. XV. 20 ; Liv. xxxi. 14. 

2 Smith, " Diet, of the Bible," vol. i., p. 74. 

3 Joseph., " Ant. Jud.," xii. 3, \ 3. 

* Appian, '' Syriaca," \ i ; Liv. xxxiii. 19. 
5 Polyb., xvi. 18, ^ 2 ; 39, ^ 3 ; Joseph. 1. s. c. 


little later re-took Jerusalem. He then " completely 
established himself in Palestine," occupying the glor- 
ious land," which was no doubt *' consumed " by 
having to furnish supplies for his army. But he did 
not press forward into Egypt. He " set his face " to 
establish "equal conditions" (verse 17, marginal 
rendering). He arranged a marriage between his 
daughter, Cleopatra, and Ptolemy Epiphanes, who had 
succeeded his father, Philopator, pledging himself to 
give over Caele-Syria and Palestine to Egypt as her 
dowry. ^ He had no intention, however, of fulfilling 
this part of the contract. The provinces were not 
made over; and Egypt was rather exasperated than 
ameliorated by the transaction. Cleopatra herself, 
instead of maintaining her father's interests, opposed 
them. Declining to " stand on his side," or " be for 
him," she maintained her husband's rights, and joined 
with him in looking to Rome for their vindication 
and establishment. 

* Polyb., xxviii. 17, § 7 ; Appian, " Syriaca," \ 4. 



" After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many : 
but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him 
to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him. 
Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land ; but he 
shall stumble and fall, and not be found. Then shall stand up in his 
estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom ; but within few 
days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle." (Daniel, 
ch. xi., verses 18-20.) 

In the prophetical Books of the Old Testament, 
and even in some of the historical ones (Gen. x. 5 ; 
Esth. X. i), the expression translated "the isles "or 
" the islands," designates primarily the shores and isles 
of European Greece — the " maritime tracts " which in- 
vited the colonist and the conqueror to brave the terrors 
of the deep, and journey westward from Asia in search 
of " fresh woods and pastures new." Antiochus the 
Great, shortly after concluding his peace with Philo- 
pator, undertook an aggressive movement in this 
direction.^ Crossing the Hellespont in B.C. 197, he 
took possession of the Chersonese with its city of 
Lysimachla. Five years later, having made alliance 

* See Liv. xxxv. 23, 43 ; Polyb. xviii. 32. 


with the CEtolians, he moved into central Greece, 
landing at Demetrias, and soon afterwards making 
himself master of Chalcis, thereby throwing out a 
challenge to the Romans, which they were not slow 
to accept. Rome could not allow the establishment 
of an Asiatic power in Europe ; and her " prince " for 
the time being, the consul M. Acilius Glabrio, soon 
" caused the reproach " which Antiochus had " offered " 
the Romans, *' to cease," turning it back upon Anti- 
ochus himself^ by the decisive victory of Thermopylae.^ 
Antiochus was forced to quit Greece in haste, ^ and 
** turned his face toward the fort " (/. e. the various 
strongholds) " of his own land," whither he retreated 
in the autumn of B.C. 191. But Rome followed up 
her advantage. The Roman admiral, ^milius, swept 
the fleet of Antiochus from the sea.^ Her generals, 
the two Scipios, Asiaticus and Africanus, invaded Asia 
in force; and in B.C. 190 was fought the great battle 
of Magnesia,^ which at once and forever established 
the predominance of the Roman arms over those of 
the Syrian kingdom, and made Rome arbiter of the 
destinies of the East. At Magnesia Antiochus "stum- 
bled and fell " with a fall from which there was no 
recovery, either for himself or for his kingdom. It did 
not suit Rome at once to enter into possession ; but from 

^ This seems to be the true meaning of the last clause of verse 18. 
(See " Speaker's Commentary," vol. vi., p. 379.) 

^Liv. xxxvi. 18, 19. 3 Ibid., xxxvi. 21. ^Ibid., xxxvii. 30. 

^Polyb. xxi. 13; xxii. 8; Liv. xxxvii. 42; Appian, "Syriaca," 


the date of the Magnesian defeat Syria lay at her mercy 
and was practically her vassal. Shortly afterwards 
(b.c. 187) Antiochus "was not found." He made an 
expedition into the Eastern provinces,^ to collect money 
for the payment of the Roman war contribution, and 
never returned from it. P^umour said that his exac- 
tion^ provoked a tumult in the distant Elymais, and that 
he fell a victim to the fury of the plundered people.^ He 
was succeeded by his son, Seleucus IV. (Philopator), 
who seems to be called "a raiser of taxes" on account 
of the burdens which the weight of the Roman 
indemnity compelled him to lay on his subjects, 
and "the glory of the kingdom" in derision.^ He 
was a weak and undistinguished monarch, whose 
short reign of eleven years was wholly uneventful. 
His treasurer, Heliodorus, murdered him treacher- 
ously in cold blood, ^ not having any grievance against 
him, but simply in the hope of succeeding to his 
dominions. Thus he was " destroyed, not in anger, 
nor in battle," by an ambitious subject. 

" And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall 
not give the honour of the kingdom : but he shall come in peaceably, 
and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood 
shall they be overflown before him; yea, also the prince of the covenant. 
And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully ; for he 
shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall 

1 Porphyr. ap. Euseb. " Chron. Can." I. 40, \ 12. 

2 Justin, xxxii, 2; Strab. xvi., p, 744. 

3 Our version gives "in the gloiy of the kingdom;" but the word 
"in" is wanting in the original. 
*Appian, "Syriaca," \ 45. 


enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province ; and he 
shall do that vi^hich his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers ; 
he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches ; yea, and 
he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds, even for a time." 
(Dan. xi. 21-24.) 

Antiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded his brother, 
Seleucus IV., is almost certainly intended by the " vile 
person " of this passage. He was a man of an extraor- 
dinary character. Dean Stanley calls him one of those 
strange characters in whom an eccentricity touching 
insanity on the left and genius on the right combined 
with absolute power and lawless passion to produce a 
portentous result, thus bearing out the two names by 
which he was known — Epiphanes — " the Brilliant," and 
Epitnanes — " the Madman." ^ He was " a fantastic 
creature, without dignity or self-control, who carica- 
tured the manners and dress of the august Roman 
magistrates, startled young revellers by bursting in on 
them with pipe and horn, tumbled with the bathers on 
the slippery marble pavement, and in the procession 
which he organized at Daphne, appeared riding in and 
out on a hack pony, playing the part of chief waiter, 
mountebank, and jester."^ He was not the legitimate 
heir to the throne ; and " the honour of the kingdom" 
was in no way formally conferred on him. Nor did he 
establish himself by force of arms. On the contrary, 
he " came in peaceably," under the auspices of Eu- 
menes of Pergamos,^ and " obtained the kingdom " by 

' Stanley, " Lectures on the Jewish Church," Am. Ed., vol. iii., p. 254. 
^Ibid. SAppian, 1. s. c. 


bribes, cajolery, and " flatteries." He courted the 
favour of the Syrian lower classes, of Rome, and of 
the Hellenising party among the Jews. At a later 
date " with the arms of a flood " he " overflowed," and 
carried all before him, sweeping through Caele-Syria 
and Palestine into Egypt,^ and receiving the submis- 
sion of Jason, ^ the High-Priest of the Jews, or "prince 
of the covenant," who " made a league " with him, 
engaging to support his interests in Judaea, and to pay 
him an annual tribute of 440 silver talents. Anti- 
ochus, however, after this league, "worked deceitfully," 
transferring the High Priesthood from Jason to his 
brother Menelaus on receipt of a bribe, and forcing 
Jason to become a fugitive from his country.^ After 
this he was able, through the support of Menelaus, to 
" become strong " in Palestine, without maintaining 
there more than a " small " army. He entered peace- 
ably upon the " fattest places of the province," his 
authority being generally recognized throughout the 
fertile tract betv/een Syria Proper and Egypt, though it 
belonged of right to Ptolemy. That he maintained 
his influence in the tract by means of a lavish expen- 
diture of money, though not distinctly stated by 
profane historians, is probable enough, since it was 
certainly the method by which he soon afterwards 
maintained it in Egypt.* 

" And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of 
the south with a great army ; and the king of the south shall be stirred 

1 1 Mac. i. 17 ; Appian, "Syriaca," \ 66. 

22 Mac. iv. 7-10. ^2 Mac. iv. 23-26. *Polyb. xxviii. 17. 



up to battle with a very great and mighty army ; but he shall not 
stand ; for they shall forecast devices against him. Yea, they that feed 
of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall over- 
flow ; and many shall fall down slain. And both these kings' hearts 
shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at qne table ; but it 
shall not prosper; for yet the end shall be at the time appointed." (Dan. 
xi. 25-27.) 

Epiphanes invaded Egypt several times during the 
earlier portion of his reign. The prophetic vision 
vouchsafed to Daniel did not very clearly distinguish 
between the several attacks. If the present passage is 
to be assigned to any particular year, it must be to 
B.C. 171, when Epiphanes "entered Egypt with a great 
multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, 
and with a great navy" (i Mac. i. 17). Egypt was 
then under the sovereignty of Ptolemy VI. (Philo- 
metor), who, however, was still a minor, under the 
tutelage of Eulaeus and Lennaeus, who received the 
royal authority as regents.^ These chiefs collected as 
large a force as they could to resist the Syrian 
monarch ; but the result of the battle which took 
place near Pelusium,^ was the complete defeat of the 
Egyptians, and the temporary subjection of the larger 
part of Egypt to the authority of Antiochus. Ptolemy 
Philometor fell into his enemy's hands, but was hon- 
ourably treated, the policy of Antiochus being to 
cajole Philometor into believing that he was his friend, 
bent on supporting his authority against that of his 
brother, Physcon, who had a strong party in the 

iPolyb, xxviii. 17; Hieronym. ed. Dan. xi. 
2 Liv. xliv. 19 ; Polyb. xxvii. 17. 



country, especially at Alexandria. We have no full 
account, in any profane writer, of the history of the 
period ; but it is quite possible that the loss of the 
battle of Pelusium was owing to treachery on the part 
of some of Philometor's ministers (verse 26) ; and it 
is certain that in the intercourse between him and 
Epiphanes each king was trying to deceive and overr 
reach the other (verse 27). Nothing decisive was 
accomplished, however, as yet ; ** the end " was 
reserved for " the time appointed " (ibid.). 

" Then shall he return into his land with great riches ; and his heart 
shall be against the holy covenant ; and he shall do exploits ; and return 
to his own land. At the time appointed he shall return, and come 
toward the south ; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter " 
(rather " it shall not be at the latter time as at the former "). " For the 
ships of Chittim shall come against him ; therefore he shall be grieved 
and leturn, and have indignation against the holy covenant. (Dan. 
xi. 28-30.) 

That Epiphanes on his first invasion of Egypt ob- 
tained a considerable booty, which he carried off into 
Syria, is confirmed by the First Book of Maccabees 
(i. 19). That on his return, or soon after, his "heart 
was against the holy covenant" appears both from 
I Mac. i. 20-24 and from 2 Mac. v. 11-21. That 
after one or two years, he "returned, and once more 
came toward the south," is also certain, as likewise 
that he did not fare this time so well as previously, 
since, though success attended his arms, he was 
"compelled by the ambassadors of various northern 
kingdoms," supported by the "ships of Chittim" — 



i. €., the fleets of Rome and Rhodes, to surrender 
against his will almost all the advantages that he had 
gained.^ This time he returned from Egypt in extreme 
ill temper, and vented his spleen on the Jews by 
renewed attacks and oppressions. 

" And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him ; 
and the king of the north shall come against him," (/. e., against the 
king of the south,) " like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horse- 
men, and with many ships, and he shall enter into the countries, and 
shall overflow and pass over. And he shall enter also into the glorious 
land, and many countries shall be overthrown ; but these shall escape 
out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of 
Amnion. He shall stretch forth also his hand upon the countries ; and 
the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the 
treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of 
Egypt ; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But 
tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him ; there- 
fore shall he go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make 
away many. And he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between 
the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, 
and none shall help him." (Dan. xi. 40-45.) 

The closing scene of the war between the kings of 
the north and of the south — Epiphanes and the 
brothers Philometor and Physcon — came in B.C. 168. 
Epiphanes having withdrawn into Syria for the winter, 
leaving his supposed ally, Philometor, at Memphis, 
and his open enemy, Physcon, in Alexandria, was 
staggered by the information, that, during his absence, 
the hostile brothers had made up their differences, and 
that Physcon had agreed to receive Philometor into 

*Ewald, "History of the Jews," vol. v., p. 297. 


Alexandria/ at which place the reconciled enemies 
were now holding their courts conjointly. An em- 
bassy, which met Epiphanes, at Rhinocolura, politely 
suggested to him, that the end for which he had been 
waging war — the establishment of Philometor's author- 
ity — was accomplished, and that nothing remained for 
him but to sheath his sword and return home. This 
was felt by Antiochus as a deadly blow struck at his 
schemes — a " push " on the part of the " king of the 
south," which required to be met by the promptest 
and most energetic measures. He at once broke up 
his camp, and marched into Egypt as an open enemy. 
With the speed of a " whirlwind," he advanced upon 
Pelusium, "with chariots, and with horsemen, and 
with many ships " (verse 40) ; thence, in a more 
leisurely fashion, he proceeded to march upon Alex- 
andria. Egypt generally submitted to him. The 
" treasures of gold and silver," and " all the precious 
things of Egypt " were placed at his disposal by the 
inhabitants — contingents of Egyptian troops were 
pressed into his service,^ and " the Libyans and the 
Ethiopians," long employed as auxiliaries by the 
monarchs of Egypt, whether native or foreign, were 
(as a matter of course) " at his steps " (verse 43). He 
was drawing near Alexandria with the intention of 
renewing the siege, and with an almost certain prospect 
of reducing the place within a few months, when an 
unexpected obstacle was interposed. The prophetic 
vision speaks of " tidings out of the east and out of 

^ Livy, xlv. II. ^ Ibid., xlv. 12. 


the north." The " tidings " told of the near approach 
of a small body of Romans. These proved to be 
ambassadors. At their head was a man, who has left 
an imperishable name in history, C. Popillius Loenas. 
This bold and haughty envoy, approaching with his 
small retinue, the master of countless legion held out 
to him a small tablet, containing a short senatorial 
decree. " Read this," he said, " at once." The 
cautious Greek cast his eye over the document, and 
perceived that it was a positive command to him to 
desist from hostilities against those who were " the 
friends of the Roman people." Unwilling to see the 
prize of victory snatched from his grasp at the 
moment of success, and hoping to temporize, Anti- 
ochus replied, that he would consult his friends on the 
senatorial proposals and let the envoys have an answer. 
Popillius had a wand in his hand, the emblem of the 
ambassadorial office. Hastily tracing with it a circle 
on the sand round Antiochus, " Consult," he said, 
" and give your answer before you overstep this line." 
The Syrian monarch was so astonished and so dis- 
mayed that he replied, with the utmost meekness, " I 
will do as the Senate decrees." ^ Thus were baffled and 
confounded the ambitious designs of the " great king," 
who regarded himself as the successor of Cyrus, 
Darius, and Xerxes, and the living representative of 
Alexander the Great. A brief sentence uttered by a 
Roman civilian brought a great war to an end and 
prohibited its renewal. 

^ Polyb. xxix. II, \ i-6; Liv. xlv. 12. 


Epiphanes retired from Egypt in greater dudgeon 
than ever, " deeply grieved and groaning in spirit," as 
Polybius says,^ and sought a species of consolation in 
increased severity towards the Jews. It was now that 
he accomplished his last acts of impiety and cruelty 
upon that unfortunate people, sending against them 
" Apollonius, that detestable ringleader, with an army 
of two and twenty thousand, commanding him to slay 
all those who were in their best age, and to sell the 
women and 'the younger sort "(2 Mac. v. 24), and 
soon afterwards polluting the temple in Jerusalem, 
and wholly forbidding the exercise of the Jewish 
religion. It was this issue to the wars between the 
" kings of the north and of the south " that gave to 
them their great importance in the theocratic history, 
and rendered them a fitting subject for so long a 
prophecy as that which we have been considering. 
Their entire result was, to bring out, more strongly 
than it had ever been brought out before, the Roman 
influence over the affairs of the East, to intensify the 
antagonism between Rome and Syria, to place Egypt 
under a permanent Roman protectorate, and to make 
Rome the natural ally and defender of every petty 
nationality which had any inclination to assert itself 
against Syria, and could do so with the least hope of 
success. The close connection between the Roman 
and Jewish peoples, which, beginning with the embassy 
of Judus Maccabaeus in B.C. 161 (i Mac. viii. 17-32) 
terminated in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus 

^/5apwd//£vof /zfi' /cci cTifvwv xxix. II, ^ 8. 


in A. D. 70, was the consequence of the Syro-Egyptian 
struggle, and especially of the war between Epiphanes 
and Philometor, which therefore worthily occupies a 
very considerable space in the prophetical synopsis 
of Daniel. 

The ultimate fates of Egypt and Babylon, as repre- 
sented to us in Scripture, offer a remarkable contrast. 
Babylon is to "become heaps" (Jer. li. 37) ; to be 
"wholly desolate" (ib. 1. 13); "not to be inhabited" 
(Isa. xiii. 20.) Egypt is to be a " base kingdom " 
(Ezek. xxix. 14) ; " the basest of the kingdoms " (ib. 
verse 1 5) ; but still to remain a kingdom. It is not 
" to exalt itself any more above the nations ; " it is to be 
" diminished ; " it is no more to have " any rule over the 
nations " (ib.), or to be " the confidence of the house 
of Israel." But it is to maintain a certain position 
among the powers of the earth, a certain separateness, 
a certain low consideration. Now this is exactly what 
has been the general position of Egypt from her con- 
quest by Cambyses to the present day. Under the 
Persians she was a sort of outlying kingdom, rather 
than an ordinary satrapy. She frequently revolted 
and established a temporary independence, but was 
soon coerced into subjection. During the earlier por- 
tion of the Ptolemaic period, she rose to considerable 
influence and prosperity ; but still she was never 
more than a second-rate power. Syria always, and 
Macedonia sometimes, was superior to her in extent of 
dominion, power and importance (Dan. xi. 5). Rome 
made her a province, but a province with a certain 


separateness, under regulations which were peculiar.^ 
Under the Mohammedans, whether Arabs, Saracens, or 
Turks, she has still for the most part been secondary, 
either an actual dependency on some greater state, or 
at any rate overshadowed by rivals of superior dignity. 
A veil hangs over the future ; but, so far as human 
sagacity can forecast, there seems to be little likelihood 
of any vital change in her position. With peculiar 
characteristics and an isolated position, she must 
almost of necessity maintain her separate and distinct 
individuality, even though she become a dependency 
on a European power. On the other hand, she has 
exhibited under recent circumstances no elements of 
greatness, and remains emphatically " a base king- 
dom " — if not even "the basest of the kingdoms." 
There seems to be no elements out of which her 
revival and reconstitution as a great kingdom could 
be possible. 

1 Tacit "Ann." ii. 59. 



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scientific works, o . „ In its way, fhe work is a model of what a popular scientific 
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nified, avoiding equally the affection of the nursery and of the laboratory."— 

Boston Sat. Eve. Gazette, 

*** For sale by all booksellers, or sent, post-paid upon receipt 0/ 
price, by 


743 AND 745 Broadway, New York. 


According to the Bible and the Traditions of the Oriental Peoples. From 
the Creation of Man to the Deluge. By Francois Lenormant, 
Professor of Archoeology at the National Library of France, etc. 
(Translated from the Second French Edition), With an introduction 
by Francis Brown, Associate Professor in Biblical Philology, 
Union Theological Seminary. 

1 Vol,, 12mo, 600 pages, - - « $2,50. 

'• What should we see in the first chapters of Genesis ? " writes M. Lenor- 
mant in his preface— "A revealed narrative, or a human tradition, gathered 
up for preservation by inspired writers as the oldest memory of their race ? 
This is the problem which I have been led to examine by comparing the nar- 
rative of the Bible with those which were current among the civilized peo- 
ples of most ancient origin by which Israel was surrounded, and from the 
midst of which it came." 

The book is not more erudite than it is absorbing in its interest. It has 
bad an immense influence upon contemporary thought ; and has approached 
its task w^ith an unusual mingling of the reverent and the scientific spirit. 

" That the ' Oriental Peoples ' had legends on the Creation, the Fall of Man, the 
Deluge, and other primitive events, there is no denying. Nor is there any need of 
denying it, as this admirable volume shows. Mr. Lenormant is not only a believer 
in revelation, but a devout confessor of what came by Moses ; as well as of what came 
by Christ. In this explanation of Chaldean, Babylonian, Assyrian and Phenician 
tradition, he discloses a prodigality of thought and skill allied to great variety of pur- 
suit, and diligent manipulation of what he has secured. He ' spoils the Egyptians ' 
by boldly using for Christian purposes materials, which, if left unused, might be 
turned against the credibility of the Mosaic records. 

" From the mass of tradition here examined it would seem that if these ancient 
legends have a common basis of truth, the first part of Genesis stands more generally 
related to the religious history of mankind, than if it is taken primarily as one account, 
by one man, to one people. . . . While not claiming for the author the 
setting forth of the absolute truth, nor the drawing from what he has set forth the 
soundest conclusions, we can assure our readers of a diminishing fear of learned un- 
belief after the perusal of this work." — TAg New Englander. 

" With reference to the book as a whole it may be said : (i). That nowhere else can 
one obtain the mass of information upon this subject in so convenient a form; (2). That 
the investigation is conducted in a truly scientific manner, and with an eminently 
Christian spirit ; (3). That the results, though very different from those in common 
acceptance, contain much that is interesting and to say the least, plausible ; (4). That 
the author while he seems in a number of cases to be injudicious in his state- 
ments and conclusions, has done work in investigation and in working out details that 
will be of service to all, whether general readers or specialists."— Z-^^ Hebrew 

" The work is one that deserves to be studied by all students of ancient history, and 
in particular by ministers of the Gospel, whose office requires them to interpret the 
Scriptures, and who ought not to be ignorant of the latest and most interesting con- 
tribution of science to the elucidation to the sacred volume." — New York Tribune. 

*^* For Sale by all booksellers, or sent, post-paid, upon receipt of price, 


743 AND 745 Broadway, New York. 

Final Causes, 


Translated from the Second French Edition. With a Preface by 
Robert Flint, D.D., LL.D, 

One Vol. 8vo., - - - Price, $2.50 

" Here is a book to which we give the heartiest welcome and the study of 
which — not reading merely — we commend to all who are seeking to solve the question 
whether the universe is the product of mind or of chance. . . . Perhaps no living 
author has been more thoroughly trained by previous studies for the work done here 
than Mr. Janet ; and no one is better fitted for it by original gifts." — Universalist 

" I regard ' Janet's Final Causes' as incomparably the best thing in litera- 
ture on the subject of which it treats, and that it ought to be in the hands of every 
man who has any interest in the present phases of the theistic problem. I am very 
glad that you have brought out an edition for the American public and at a price 
that makes the work acceptable to ministers and students. I have commended it to 
my classes in the seminary, and make constant use of it in my instructions." — Frotn 
a letter of Professor Francis L. Patton^ D. D. 

" I am delighted that you have published the translation of Janet's ' Final 
Causes ' in an improved form and at a price which brings it within the reach of many 
v/ho desire to possess it. It is in my opinion the most suggestive treatise on this im- 
portant topic which is accessible in our language, and is admirably fitted to meet 
many of the misleading and superficial tendencies of the philosophy of a popular 
but superficial school.'''' —Extract from a letter of Noa/t Porter, D.D., LL.D., 
President of Yale College. 

" The most powerful argument that has yet appeared against the unwar- 
ranted conclusions which Haeckel and others would draw from the Darwinian 
Theory. That teleology and evolution are not mutually exclusive theories, M. 
Janet has demonstrated with a vigor and keenness that admit of no reply." — The 

" No book of greater importance in the realm of theological philosophy has 
appeared during the past twenty years than Paul Janet's ' Final Causes.' The 
central idea of the work is one which the whole course of scientific discussion has 
made the burning question of the day, viz : That final causes are not inconsistent 
with physical causation." — I)ideJ>endent, 

*^* For sale by all booksellers, or sent, post-paid., upon receipt of price, by 


743 AND 745 Broadway, New York. 



Conflict of Christianity 




OvxQ Volui-ne, Crown 8vo, $2.50. 

This volume describes with extraordinary vividness and spirit the 
religious and moral condition of the Pagan world, the rise and spread 
of Christianity, its conflict with heathenism, and its final victory. There 
is no work that portrays the heroic age of the ancient church with equal 
spirit, elegance, and incisive power. The author has made thorough and 
independent study both of the early Christian literature and also of the 
contemporary records of classic heathenism. 


" It is easy to see why this volume is so highly esteemed. It is 
systematic, thorough, and concise. But its power is in the wide mental 
vision and well-balanced imagination of the author, which enable him to 
reconstruct the scenes of ancient history. An exceptional clearness and 
force mark his style." — Boston Advey-tiser. 

" One might read many books without obtaining more than a fraction 
of the profitable information here conveyed ; and he might search a long 
time before finding one wliich would so thoroughly fix his attention and 
command his interest." — P/i//. S. S. Times. 

"Dr. Uhlhorn has described the great conflict with the power of a 
master. His style is strong and attractive, his descriptions vivid and 
graphic, his illustrations highly colored, and his presentation of the subject 
earnest and effective." — Provide7ice yo!/r?tal. 

"The work is marked for its broad humanitarian views, its learning, 
and the wide discretion in selecting from the great field the points of 
deepest interest." — Chicago Inter-Ocean. 

"This is one of those clear, strong, thorough-going books which are 
a scholar's delight." — Hartford Religious Herald. 

')rice^ by 


Nos. 743 AND 745 Broadway, New York. 


The Native Religions of 

Mexico and Peru. 


1 Vol. - - - 12mo. - - - $1.50 

The remarkable series of lectures on the Hibbert foundation, 
which includes the widely known volumes of Max Muller, 
Renouf and Kuenen, has now an addition which will prove of 
equal interest and value. Professor Reville has taken for his 
s-abject the religions of the Mexicans and Peruvians at the time 
of the Spanish Conquest, and in a series of eloqiient lectures he 
describes the civilization, relig-ious customs, monastic institu- 
tions, and everything- connected v/ith the mysterious yet pro- 
foundly sig-nificant religion of these races of the New "World. 
No subject could have been chosen in this field of research 
more attractive for students of religion in this country. 

Professor Reville's treatment of his theme is popular and 
historical rather than philosophical, and it is consequently 
8.dapted for general readers. 

The Hibbert Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion. 
The Religions of India— ^^' F. Max Muller. 

Hibbert LeElures for iS-jS. Crown 8vo. - $2.00 

Ike Religion of Ancient Egypt. — By p. Le Page Renouf. 

Hibbert Lectures for iSyg. i2mo. - - ^1.50 

National Religions and Universal Religions.— ^"^^ A. Kuenen. 

Hibbert Left 11 res for 1SS2. i2mo. - . ^1.50 

*** For sale bv all booksellets, or sent, post-paid, upon receipt' of price, 


Publishers, New York. 










Egypt and Babylon from sacred and 

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